The Perfect Presents or the Perfect Presence?

Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor
Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

by Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

The tree is up, the Amazon boxes will soon be headed your way and the mad rush is on. You’ve done a great job of getting the perfect gifts for everyone on your list, except for that one person. We all have that one person who is so difficult to match with a great gift. Whether it’s your in-law, your sibling or your next-door-neighbor, he or she seems to have everything, and then some.

Instead of focusing on the perfect presents, why not focus more on the perfect presence? Your presence in that person’s life is more valuable than anything you could find online or in stores. Your presence signals to that person that you care, you take your relationship seriously, and that you value that person enough to spend time engaging in conversation.

What if you’re not in the same town? This visit doesn’t necessarily need to be in person. You can Skype or FaceTime, or you can pick up the phone and call. Emails are wonderful communication tools, but you lose the personal connection that only comes from human presence. Take, for example, the phrase, “I’m just having such a great day.” It can be said with satisfaction or sarcasm. You don’t know how it’s meant to be conveyed, unless it’s heard first hand.

Still searching for the perfect gift? Why not offer to take someone to lunch, or if the person is a shut-in or has disability issues, why not bring the lunch to him or her? You can also donate to a favorite charity in someone’s name after considering that person’s preferences. There are so many ways to show someone you care.

“Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. “ James 1:17 (NRSV)

This year, instead of the gift of presents, I hope you’ll consider the gift of presence.


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Trinity United Methodist Church is located in McLean, VA. Our weekly worship services are on Sundays at 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. and on Wednesdays at noon. Sunday School is at 9:30 a.m. for children and adults. Children up to 6th grade are also invited to Children's Education during the 10:30 service. Adult Bible Study also occurs on Mondays at 10 a.m. and Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. Please visit our website for more information.

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