Give Presence

Give Presence

This week North Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, a day to rest and carb-load so we have the energy reserves necessary for Black Friday shopping. Thursday we’ll try real hard to be thankful for what we have so that Friday we can get on with the important business of being thankful for what we are about to buy. Of course, all the stuff we buy on Friday will become the stuff we pretend to be thankful for next year.

Here’s an idea before you head out to do all your Christmas shopping on Friday: Stop. Don’t.

And a confession: I may head out Friday morning out to buy a few small and well priced items. Perhaps I’ll pick up one item I’ve been saving for that is an extra good deal. You’ll probably find me in line at the used bookstore, waiting for my free gift card to use on used books.

But my kids don’t need more stuff and I won’t be buying them a lot of presents.

What they’ll get from me this year:

  • A book. They don’t actually need more books either. They have regular access to great libraries. But I want them to value reading, so I try and leverage the joy of receiving something new with a developing joy of reading.
  • An experience. A few years ago we decided to give presence instead of presents. So instead of buying lots of stuff they don’t need, we do something as a family, being fully present and making memories. The kids love it! So do the parents. This year we’ll make a trip to Chicago, visit some museums, and eat some great pizza.

So, before you head out to wait in line Friday morning, maybe scrap the whole idea and give presence this year.

Pat Hannon
Pat Hannon Dr. Pat Hannon is a pastor, currently serving at Unity UMC. He is a musician. Listen to his latest music on YouTube. Most importantly, he is a life-long student of Jesus.