The Best Gift Is to Be Present

The Best Gift Is to Be Present

The best gift is to be present

This time of year is a very fun but busy time in our household: a couple of birthdays plus Valentine’s Day. As I have been thinking about gifts I’ve come to this conclusion:

The best gift to yourself, to others, and to God is to be present. Nothing compares to it. And God is the best example of this. Nothing compares to God’s presence in our lives.

You know when I leave and when I get back;
    I’m never out of your sight.
You know everything I’m going to say
    before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me and you’re there,
    then up ahead and you’re there, too—
    your reassuring presence, coming and going.
This is too much, too wonderful—
    I can’t take it all in!
(Psalm 139:3-6, MSG)

God is always with us. And God even became a man to be one of us. Jesus was Immanuel, God with us. There must be something in being present if God emphasized it so much.

I have to confess that I’ve been losing a bit my ability to live in the present. And I feel God is calling me back to seizing the day. I used to be natural in enjoying life at any given moment. But when we start living too much in our heads, we open the door to worries. And that is not the way of living God intended to us.

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. (Matthew 6:34, MSG)

God is working in the present. If we live either in our past or in the future, we don’t meet God. Because God is the great I AM. Not I WAS. Or I WILL BE. (Even though he has always been and will always be.) But right now he can only be found in the present. That’s why being present enables us to meet God. And other people. And even ourselves. That’s why the best gift is to be present.

How then to be more present? The recipe is very simple. With the words of Augustine “Trust the past to God’s mercy, the present to God’s love, and the future to God’s providence.” We need God’s grace in order to let go of blaming ourselves of the past or worrying of the future. The antidote to worries is prayer.

When we invite God into our lives in our prayers, we can be sure that God will help us to deal with whatever hard things come up. When we don’t worry all the time, we are free to enjoy the present moment. When we don’t live in our heads, we are able to see the world around us. When we embrace the gift of this moment, we experience God, people around us, and even ourselves in a new way. Suddenly it is all grace.

 

Gracious God,
Thank you for the gift of this moment.
Thank you for being with each of us.
Let us feel your presence in a new way.
Help us to live in the present
and enjoy the gifts of grace.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: What does help you to live in the present?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you learn to live in the present!

Image courtesy of Gary Church & Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Thought-Provoking Thursday 

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