Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Gift of Presence

It's the Christmas season again. This year, for the first time in my life, I will ring in the day with midnight mass. I hope to make it a new tradition. I have plenty of old traditions you see. When I was a kid, the Christmas season always meant a cold or flu. It also meant presents, getting to see my father, crying my eyes out when he left & then getting into yelling matches with my mother. Grandpa came for dinner, made things better by his presence alone & the day ended unceremoniously. That was my Christmas, my Easter, my birthday, every year till I was 13.

My body remembers... this Christmas season, I nurse my sniffles & the remembrance of gain & loss, hope given, hope deferred.

As an adult, Christmas & the giving of gifts has become something of an empty ritual for me, but I understand that in this world, love is gauged by gifts or some other monetary value. I don't tend to show true love by "things" however. My grandfather gave me gifts often, but his greatest gift to me was the gift of presence. I loved going to his house whenever I could just because I knew he was there & I could be myself with him. It didn't matter if we were engaged in conversation or play together. I felt a great satisfaction knowing he was in his chair watching the late night news as I fell asleep on the floor.

God also knew how much more valuable the gift of Presence was above monetary offerings. That's why He sent His own Son to us. He is both the Giver & the Gift of Presence. Its something I'm coming to appreciate most dearly this year.

As the wrapping paper piles up in crumpled heaps this Christmas, let us not forget the Good Gift God has given us.

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