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Are you giving any Christmas presence?


Last updated 12/21/2011 at Noon

So, what are you giving for Christmas this year? Perhaps you are shopping for some people who seem to have everything.

If you need ideas, it is always helpful to consult the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalogue, as I do, where you find truly unique gifts – that is, if you can afford them.

For the outdoorsman in your life, you might want to buy a $75,000 yurt. The luxury version of the tent general associated with nomads is 18 feet in diameter and comes with designer pillows and a crystal chandelier.

For the bibliophiles in your life who want to buck the ebook trend, you can purchase a $125,000 custom built library. The lucky recipient of this gift even gets to fill the library with 250 current or vintage titles of their choice.

For the ping-pong player, you can purchase a limited-edition ping-pong table made out of black rubber that also doubles as a contemporary work of art. It’s only $45,000.

For a cool million, you could order a dancing fountain to spruce up a backyard. Not just any fountain, but one with underwater robotic nozzles that creates a watery “Dancing with the Stars”- style couple.

I would like to suggest that the best gifts we can give others are not presents, but presence.

I read about a beautiful little girl in the hospital at Vanderbilt University. She came from a very wealthy family, and her family showered her with expensive gifts while she was in the hospital.

There were great over-stuffed toys, including a giraffe that was 6 feet high, dolls, a dollhouse and games of every description.

The mother, who was well known in social circles, brought something new every time she came to see the little girl. She never stayed long when she came, for she was always due at some luncheon or party. But she never failed to bring a gift.

The nurses complained about the abundance of toys that made it difficult for them to get about in the room.

One day the little girl was particularly unhappy in the midst of all her fine gifts, and held desperately to her mother as the mother sought to extricate herself and not be late to a bazaar.

The mother tried to secure her interest in the new toy she had brought.

"Mommy," cried the little girl, "I want you!”

Surrounded by gifts, she wanted the most important thing of all, her mother's presence. What she wanted was a little love.

Really, isn’t the best thing we can give others is the gift of ourselves – not presents but our presence – the gift of our time and attention?

To be sure this gift is far more costly than any other. But this is why it is all the more precious. It’s priceless! And it is a gift we can all give – rich or poor!

Think of all the people who are shut-in this Christmas: the elderly, the hospitalized, the frail. There are so many lonely people all around us – they feel left out, forgotten, ignored.

Many folks are hurting – I think especially of those who have lost loved ones recently and who mourn even in the midst of all the general good cheer around them. Simple human companionship can make a difference.

If Christmas is about the wonderful gift of God’s presence among us in Jesus Christ, then maybe the best way to celebrate His loving presence is to be fully present to the folks He loves so much.

When it comes right down to it, this is the gift people most need, and if truth be known, most want.


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