Presents or Presence: Struggles and Reflections on the Holidays

I’ve been wrestling (once again) with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming and trusting the Lord’s provision. Of course, He knows my desires. When I share this problem with other people they often tell me “it’s not about presents”; “focus on making memories”, “you have already been given so much”. I agree with all these statements and even feel guilty as I recognize I have far more than most of the world has but there’s still a conflict in my heart. It’s an annual struggle.

I recognize that it’s not about materialistic things but my love language is gifts. And it’s very hard for me to "not have enough" to give in the way I’d like. It’s not about the amount of presents or the technical value of the item but it’s about the thoughtfulness behind the gift. The showing of the “I-know-you-ness” that is important to my heart. The letting people I know, that I share life with, that I love and appreciate them.

God has always taken care of us. So why do I struggle with believing that He will again? We are blessed to have grandparents and family that give the kids presents. They will not go without. But i love the joy of being the one who is able to do the giving.

And it’s not just my kids. I love to be able to give to neighbors and friends old and new, the people at Bible study and care group, the teachers and the mailman. I love to be generous. I love to give what I can of myself, over the top, abundant thoughtful gifts.

So I lay down my concerns and my anxious heart at his feet and say with gratitude… Lord, you know my heart and my struggles.You know how I long to give. I trust you that you have more than enough for those I love. You are an abundant loving Father who gives good gifts to His children.

I started a coloring journal  this week which has pages to color and write in. It’s not a gratitude journal but In it I found myself recounting the things I was grateful for. I was overwhelmed by the number, the sheer volume of things to be thankful for. It did my heart good to stop and see what the Lord has done. To remind myself of His goodness and faithfulness to me. To stop counting my troubles and instead to see the small victories, the generous above and beyond bounty of the Lord.

So really, once again, doesn’t it come down to my heart before the Lord? Doesn’t it come down to loving people in very small simple ways. A gracious smile. A big hug. A “I really appreciate you.” Being patient in the fluster of the busyness of the holiday season. 

Maybe this year people won’t get something from me. Or maybe it will be something small or home-made or just a note… or maybe nothing, literally… but I pray that God uses me to be a blessing to those around me to my family, friends, and community. And I trust that the Lord is going to use this season to help me be mindful of the greatest gift and treasure, His precious son Jesus.

So whether you have much or little I pray that your heart can experience joy in knowing and beholding the Savior who loves you so much that He gave His all for you. As we rejoice in this Messiah, this Emmanuel, this Word made flesh that dwelt among us may we be satisfied by His goodness, His ultimate generosity. 

O Come Let Us Behold Him!


Sarah said…
Jennifer this may resonate or it may not, but give people your writing. I still have notes you wrote from 10 years ago that I found and still encourage me. That's a precious gift that keeps on giving...

It's not "just a note" it's affirmation, inspiration, understanding and connection. I'd say everyone needs that at the holidays xxx
Jennifer said…
Thanks Sarah! That is an encouragement and a great idea. XO

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