The Gift

“Love must be sincere.” Romans 12:9 NIV


Glancing at the clock, I rushed to heat the oven. It was almost 7am. What was I thinking?  I needed that turkey in stat!

Why couldn’t I find that roasting pan? Climbing atop a chair I had recently relocated from the table, I threw open the cupboard door, rummaging inside.

Cake plate.

Dip server.

A few aluminum disposable pans.

Where in the world did I put that roasting pan?

Startled by a rapid succession of beeps from the oven, indicating it was at the preset temperature; I clamored down off the chair and hurried over to the refrigerator. Opening the door, it suddenly dawned on me why I could not locate my roaster.  The turkey was already in it, inside the refrigerator.


Why is this time of year, a time we are to focus on Christ and keep Christmas holy, such a frantic frenzy?

After serving a feast that was good, but not perfect, and enjoying friends in a living room that was clean but not a picture from Better Homes and Gardens, I sat down with my planner and really looked at the next month.

Every year we do so many things to celebrate the season of joy. But, by the time the calendar lands on Christmas Day, am I joyful?

Honestly? I try to be, while too many details distract me from the true heart of the holiday.

This Christmas I vow it will be different. How?

I am deleting my expectations. I have also asked my family what is important to them for Christmas. Want to know the best-kept secret? They really don’t care about my Martha Stewart expectations! They just want to enjoy being together.

As with most families, we rarely see each other every day. One person travels a lot for work. School schedules are crazy. And, it has hit home that our first will leave for college soon.

I still have a few items we decided to hold with our family tradition and keep on the holiday schedule.  And thanks to the internet most of the holiday presents are already on their way to my home.

But, I decided the best way to honor and glorify God has nothing to do with wonderful feasts, or beautiful wrapped parcels.

The gift I’m giving is the gift of my presence.

Not just my physical presence in the room while my mind reviews the next day’s to-do list. But my emotional presence. Not only listening to the words spoken, but focused enough to identify the tone and the body language indicating how the speaker feels about those words.

I also want to give God my full spiritual presence. Give Him my full attention. Allow His words to soak into my soul, not just float through my mind as I hurriedly read them so I can jump to the next thing.

Romans 12:9 tells us “Love must be sincere.”  Running around like a chicken with my head cut off doesn’t inspire anyone to pause for the message of God this season. I don’t recall any Bible passages recounting all that Jesus accomplished in one day while rushing like a maniac. No, He took the time to listen.  He took the time touch people, to touch their bodies and their souls.  And feast preparations? It didn’t stress Him in the least!

Please join me in giving friends and family the gift of presence this season.  If we all band together, just maybe, we can start a movement where the expectations of perfect holiday feasts and decorations decrease each year, and maybe, just maybe, we perfectionists can learn to enjoy just one Martha Stewart-like moment while our loved ones love to bask in our presence!



What does love look like to me?

How can I demonstrate sincere love this season?

What are you willing to relinquish so that you can demonstrate sincere love this Christmas?


Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You that You clearly defined Your expectations of me: to love You and recall that I am Your child. I don’t need to cook the best dinner, or decorate my home like a celebrity in order to enjoy Your peace and Your love. Please show me what is necessary, and what is not, and how I might best serve You this next month. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 Gift PicMonkey

Thanks for reading! Please return by Monday, December 7 for the next post!

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