The Presence Your Family Really Wants This Year

(This is a rerun from 2012  when I was writing The Poorganic Life about eating real food on a budget.)

I’ve been thinking about whether or not to write this post, as I’ve found myself facing a bit of writer’s block over the last few weeks.  See, here’s the thing.  This is the time of year when NEITHER healthy eating NOR frugality are super popular concepts.  I’m sure I could try to drum something up, but even I don’t want to hear it. I just want some eggnog and a cookie. Leave me alone.

Moreover, I can be a bit of a Scrooge when it comes to gift giving because I get frustrated at the enormous distraction that commercialism is during a season that SHOULD focus on Christ.

Here’s a story.

Our first Christmas in Papua New Guinea was several years ago, and I was homesick. I was missing family, friends, cool weather, car commercials of Hondas with giant bows, and sale flyers. I missed it all.  I had a pity party. I pretended that I was the first girl ever in the history of the world to be away from home at Christmas.

I pouted.

And then I remembered that the very first Christmas, the one in which our Lord was born, was basically all about someone being FAR from home on Christmas.  Jesus spent every Christmas separated by universes, dimensions, and skin cells from His Father.

And He did it so that He could bring us presence.

Yes, I spelled it correctly.  PRESENCE. HIS PRESENCE. (I do love a good holiday pun!)

That realization kind of rocked me to the core when I thought about it while overlooking the lush, green highlands of Papua New Guinea. Because His presence, deep and sustaining, is what we all really crave.

But yesterday morning, I had the same realization again as my three year old came to the computer while I Cyber-Mondayed.  She put her small, still ever-so-slightly pudgy hands on my typing claw, and yanked it. Off the keyboard. Away from the screen.


Frustrated at being interrupted, I said, “I’m trying to buy you presents! Don’t you want presents?”

She said in her determined voice. “I DON’T WANT PRESENTS. I just want you to come play with me!!”

And then she pouted.  Cue the guilt trip.

She doesn’t want presents; she wants presence. My presence.  She just wants to be with me, enjoying my company.  And I should want the same thing, shouldn’t I?

Lately, it seems that I cannot wrap my arms, hands, and brain around all the life around me because of the glowing boxes that tug, pull, and tempt me away. Once, during a blogging/spiritual exercise called Summer of 7, I fasted from media for only a week. It barely took a few days to comprehend the tremendous glut of information my greedy eyes feast on daily and hourly.

Christmas, American style, seems to make it all worse.  While I may desperately need the silent night and the stillness, instead, I gulp down screens, social media, and coupons codes that create deplorable distance from my family, friends, and my own little followers.  I try to replace my PRESENCE with PRESENTS. I try to replace HIS PRESENCE with likes, fans, and affirmation of a very shallow sort. (You know I love you, but let’s just face it; this IS NOT our real life.)

This Christmas season I’m gonna take some time off screens. I may run some old posts through the Facebook page, so you can follow there if you want to keep up, but I just don’t want to feel drawn to give YOU my presence when there are small people under my roof wanting to make cookies.

I’m going to try soaking in the PRESENCE of the one who made a very long trip from His heavenly home to make himself known to me.

John 1:14  (NIRV) The Word became a human being. He made his home with us. We have seen his glory. It is the glory of the one and only Son.He came from the Father. And he was full of grace and truth.

Christmas 2009

AND, I’m going to try to offer my presence, my focus, my attention, and my time to those who are in my real life.And I’m thinking it might be the eensiest bit uncomfortable, like detox.

What about you? Want to join me in logging off, unplugging, and making our home– at home?

One Response to The Presence Your Family Really Wants This Year

  1. Jane Peterson November 26, 2015 at 10:54 am #

    A timely & challenging re-post. Thank you!