Family works

Speaking on presents/presence

Rob Coombs ID. Min. Ph.D.
Posted 12/18/16

So many decisions!

How in the world will I ever find the right present for everyone?

OK, this is my 10th trip to the mall and definitely my last. Finding a parking space doesn’t involve a …

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Family works

Speaking on presents/presence


So many decisions!

How in the world will I ever find the right present for everyone?

OK, this is my 10th trip to the mall and definitely my last. Finding a parking space doesn’t involve a decision — only luck.

Look at this, an empty parking space right in front of the entrance to the food court — a miracle at the mall.

’Tis the season. OK, I’ve seen crowds before on my nine other trips to the mall for Christmas shopping, but this is ridiculous. I decide to jump in and just go with the flow.

Entering the first store, I browse for a few moments and that special something catches my eye. This looks like a great toy — a puzzle that can be put together a number of ways and a little car that travels through the puzzle depending on how you have pieced it together. I like this. It’s creative. It’s educational. It’s fun. It’s cute. But will my niece like it? I know I would like to play with this toy with her. Hmm. Indecision.

Maybe I should look around some more. I lay the puzzle back on the shelf, jump back into the sea of flowing people, and continue my search. During the next three hours, I see many cute, adorable, fun, creative, toys. But I just can’t get my mind off that puzzle. I wait in an incredibly long line to get something to eat at the food court, finally find a table, and sit for awhile resting my aching legs. Finally, I decide. I’m going to get the puzzle. Another hour later I’m walking out of the mall, puzzle in hand, to my “nothing short of miraculous” parking space.

There are decisions still to be made when I arrive home. Which paper will she like best — the blue paper with the cute snowmen or the red paper with Santa and his reindeer? I’m guessing the snowmen. Although she is only 6, she’s definitely the outdoor type.

I wrap the present and place a big silver bow on top, the kind you stick on. Making a bow looks impossible. I place it under the tree and imagine for a moment the joy she will have as she rips the paper to shreds and discovers the puzzle inside. Will she like it? Doubt again begins to flood my mind. I suppress the thought and head for the couch to read and listen to Christmas music.

Undoubtedly, one of the greatest joys of the Christmas season is giving presents. It’s worth all the hassles, the crowds and the indecision when you see a face light up in excitement and appreciation for that special gift given in love.

As important as finding just the right present may be, nothing — not anything — is more important than your presence. The greatest gift you can give is yourself — your time, your talents, your special spirit — those things about yourself that only you can give.

Without your presence, your presents become a meaningless substitute. Amid the technicolor and trapping of this special season, it’s easy to forget this. We can even be tempted to believe that Christmas is only about gift giving. Christmas is really about relationships. Relationships — good relationships — not gifts provide Christmas its meaning.

Enjoy giving and receiving your presents this Christmas season as you and those you love are reminded of the specialness of the gift of being a part of each others’ lives.

Remember, your presence is more important than your presents.


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