Presence Over Presents
The holiday season is full of twinkling lights, shiny tinsel, and hopeful expectancy as children await Christmas morning. As parents, it's easy to be overwhelmed by the seemingly never ending to-do list that the holiday season brings - buying Christmas gifts, ordering poinsettias for your coworkers, planning Christmas dinner with family, coordinating schedules with family visiting from out of town. It is easy to feel as if buying your children's Christmas list and wrapping the items in shiny paper to put under the tree is sufficient to show them you care. Yet more than the new video game neatly wrapped under the tree, there is something that costs less and is valued more - your presence, your time, your attunement - letting them know they are seen, heard, and understood.
Buying gifts and surprising your children is certainly a holiday delight as you watch their faces light up on Christmas morning, but something that will last far longer than the shine of the latest toy fad are the memories you build with them.
I encourage you to take a moment this season to just be with your children. You don't have to do much of anything. You can sit by the fire and sip hot cocoa while you talk about their school day. You can bundle up and walk around the neighborhood one night to look at Christmas lights. Give them your time this Christmas season to show them that they are seen, heard, cared for, and loved.
Jim Elliot, a famous missionary, said the following quote:
I, myself, am guilty of this as I fall prey to the pressure to do, to complete, to check off the to-do list instead of sit, be, play, listen, engage, notice. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I encourage you to pause, practice presence, and take a moment to be with your child.