Gifts are great, but the older I get, and yes I’m another year older this Christmas, I find myself desiring something besides the presents we exchange during this season. In fact, I looked at the stack of neatly wrapped boxes, all shapes and sizes, under our tree this morning and thought, “What if ALL the money we spent on gifts for each other we combined and gave to a needy family.”
For some reason, during this season, it’s easier to think about those who are less fortunate. Is it guilt, because we have SO much stuff and we rush around to buy even MORE for our family, or ourselves during the Christmas crunch? Are our senses heightened because so many charities and churches are asking for donations to help those in need this time of year? Or is it because we feel the weight of our greed and gluttony that we’ve exercised throughout the year and now we feel like we should pay some kind of penance?
Don’t get me wrong, I love giving to others and yes, even receiving some gits myself. However, in recent years I find myself not wanting for anything of material value like I used to, but longing for the presence of those around me that I love and cherish. Maybe it’s due to the fact that when you walk through the experience of facing your own mortality you have a heightened sense of the brevity of life. Or perhaps, age tends to winnow away what isn’t important in our lives. Whatever the reason, I feel this shift in my life, and it’s kind of nice.
Of course the true Presence of Christmas, God in human flesh, is the one thing I pray will always remain at the top of my Christmas list!