Presence not presents


Sometimes we get so caught up with buying the right present for our kids, Lord, that we fail to realize that our presence is more important than our presents.

Mary, your human mother, loved you so much that you became Love itself, Lord.

We can do the same thing.  Help us to be present to our children each and every day.  Help us to hear what they are not saying.

Help us to call forth the love inside them.

Help us realize that material things can never substitute for the love and care that comes from inside us.

And if we don’t have family, Lord, then let us be present to the others in our life.

May we call forth Your light within them.  Let it light up their faces,  show in their laughter, in their mischief.

Help us to realize that the most important thing we do each day is to be present to our children, to nourish their souls, not just provide for their bodies.  May we get to  know each child as the the unique person they are and to call forth their unique gifts.

Forgive us, Lord, for getting so wrapped up in our careers and the running around we do that we forget that  being present to our children and to our family is the essential thing.

We honor You, Lord, for your great love.  In Your love, in Mary’s love, may we find love.  To You be glory forever.  Amen.

Brothers and sisters,

A couple of suggestions:  (1) Gather your household each day and  share with each other what we did that day.  Get  to know each other.  If you and your spouse, if you and your children are like ships passing in the night, you are not doing the essential thing: Loving your family.

Love involves knowing.  And knowing only happens when we trust each other enough to share what’s going on inside.  Only in that kind of atmosphere  do we grow.  Only then do we become the persons we are intended to be.  (2) Do not let the TV be the focus of your family room.  Arrange your furniture so you can look at (and delight in) each others’ faces and notice if there’s a twinkle or sadness there.  (3)  Choose games that cause you to interact with people not with tech toys.

If each of us takes time to be present to the people in our lives, we will have a meaningful Christmas.  After all, it’s all about how Love Itself was born of a simple teenage girl who said YES to Love with every fiber of her being.  May we also give birth to Love in our world today.

Happy Hanukah to my Jewish sisters and brothers!

Bob Traupman

priest/ writer

monday, december 22, 2008