Thursday thoughts: Being present can be the best present you give, or receive, this Christmas


Christmas is just a few days away. The younger grandchildren at my house are definitely excited. Presents were wrapped and put under the tree, and it is killing them to know what they are. I think I have heard, "Can we open just one present?” numerous times a day. 

I have been thinking about the word “present.” At Christmas when we use that word we think of gifts. We give a present and at times we receive a present. That is the joy of Christmas to a child. It’s all about the gifts. I don’t know about your house but at mine when there are 13 people all opening gifts at one time it can be quite chaotic. The noise level is on high volume. There is excitement and joy on faces, and you might even hear a thank you or get a hug.

I don’t necessarily need a present. I honestly don’t have a lot of needs and when I do, I just order it myself. So the question is, “What do you want for Christmas?”

 I want to BE present. Being present means to be fully conscious of the moment. Being present is the period of time that is now occurring. When you are present there is a connection, and you are actually communicating to the other person that they are worthy of your attention. I want to be present.

I can become so busy with all the details of purchasing gifts, cooking a meal, decorating, cleaning the house and many other things that I might not be present. I want to be present, especially with God. I need to spend that time with him to be conscience of the moment.

I want to remember that Jesus was born in a manger. I need to remember the ways He has taken care of me, particularly over this past year. I want to connect with God, communicate through prayer, and give Him all my attention because He is worthy. I want to be present.

I also want to be present with my family. I don’t want to be so wrapped up in my duties and responsibilities that I miss the connection with my family. I want to be present and attentive. I don’t want to be stressed and frazzled. I want to remember my grandchildren’s excitement and pay attention to their faces. I want to be present to take every moment in.

In James 4:14 the Bible says “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog – it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” We need to be present – for the moment, for the connection, for the communication, and because we love God and others.

Time is short and there are no guarantees for any of us. Every day is different. We don’t want to spend our time just remembering the past or hoping for the future. The present is what matters.

This is my prayer for myself and for you. I pray we can all remember that a physical present will not last forever. I pray that we can think about BEING present instead of just giving a present..

That to me is one of the greatest opportunities we are given – to BE present. We can make our time with God meaningful and our time with others memorable. Being present is the best gift we can give or receive. I want to BE present this Christmas by sharing time with my family, looking for opportunities to share my faith, and spending precious time with my Heavenly Father. What do you want for Christmas?


Jill Johnson, a staff member at the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, finds spiritual applications in her everyday experiences as a wife, mother, grandmother and Georgian. She is available to speak to your church's women's gatherings. Reach her at