I am no Grinch. I like presents as much as anyone. But I like giving presents more than receiving presents. That does not mean I like buying them. I do not enjoy shopping. I would rather go to the dentist office than the shopping mall.
My wife does the Christmas shopping. The only shopping I do is online. Furthermore, we have agreed to give each other only one gift for Christmas. Okay, maybe two. But the second one has to be small and inexpensive.
I am one of those people who is hard to buy for. My wife has been asking me for gift suggestions for weeks. My kids have been asking her what to buy me. Finally I gave her an idea: some SmartWool socks. (It gets cold up here in New Hampshire.)
I thought that was a great idea. She was not impressed. I guess socks are not a fun gift. I am sorry, but there is nothing else I really want or need. As time goes on, the less important it is to get presents. All I really want is a house full of kids and grandkids at our home for Christmas dinner. Their presence is my present.
The spiritual dimension of Christmas is even more important. Christmas is not about opening presents. It is about opening to Presence. Jesus told his disciples that he was going to give them a present at Pentecost (one of the Jewish holy days). It was the gift of the Holy Spirit. He delivered on his promise.
Every day I open the gift of God’s Presence. Every day I am aware of the Presence of God. To receive this daily gift all I have to do is open my heart, and God is there. God is powerfully, undeniably, wonderfully present. A gentle grin comes over my face. Joy fills my heart. God is Present. God is Presence. Open Presence.