Presents & Presence

By Fin Sheridan

‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ (which means ‘God with us’)

Matthew 1:23 NIV

I still remember it. As clearly today as it was all those years ago. I got the dolls!

I’m sure my story is not entirely unique as lots of little girls want dolls for Christmas, but this story of mine holds great power in my memory as it was the year that I finally got what I really wanted.

I remember opening up the paper and discovering the dolls inside. But not just the dolls. I got the pram, the carrycot, the nappies, the baby clothes – the lot!

It’s wonderful to get the thing that our hearts desire isn’t it? And my little girl heart had desired these dolls all year long.

Unfortunately, the story does not end there. As well as receiving the gifts that I had so desperately wanted, I also remember that my Mother often had to leave us on Christmas day to go to work. She was a Nurse and part of her responsibility was to be available at any time. Though not disastrous, this did hurt my little girl’s heart a bit. I wanted my Mother to be present at Christmas day, not to just give me the presents I desired.

He is eternally present with us as well.

Isn’t this the marvellous thing about our God? Not only does he shower us – lavish us, as the Bible puts it (see 1 John 3:1) – with love all year round, He is eternally present with us as well. God with us.

The moral of my little story is that perhaps, this Christmas, we could concern ourselves not just with the presents that we receive – a tradition that is attempting to monopolise the entire day in our generation – but with the presence of those around us. Family, friends, those who are caring for us and whom we care for.

It really is priceless.

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