What’s on top of your gift list this year? No doubt you are busy checking stuff off as you play “Santa” for family and friends. Or, you are a practicing procrastinator, counting on a flurry of cyber-shopping to stuff the stockings just in the “St. Nick” of time. Of course, for ministry leaders, some of you are probably just trying to survive the craziness of overseeing, following up on and otherwise attending special Christmas services, plays, musicals, outreach events, making gratuitous showings with your spouse at way too many small group/class parties, community functions, and, oh yeah… are already way ahead of everyone else when it comes to planning and creating ministry momentum for the New Year. I say, “Bah-hum-bug!” Add these up and all many ministry leaders want for Christmas are little things like sanity, peace & quiet, or just some fun with family. Which brings me to my point…
What should be at the top of our Christmas Gift List as servant leaders? In a word, presence. No, not more presents… presence. It’s never too late to order this gift. It comes in any and every shape and size. And, it doesn’t need charged and re-charged, although you will find yourself energized whenever you use it. Presence. I would suggest you focus on presence in three areas…
1 – The presence of God. Get alone. Get quiet. Get close to God in His Word, prayer, and worship. Discover what “Emmanuel, God with us” means to you again. The Psalmist said, “You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.” Acts 2:28.
2 – The presence of family. Just say, “No!” to some of the stuff that is making Christmas crazy. Go on a date with your spouse. Stay at home and play games, throw a movie marathon party, whatever you do when you do what you do with your family… just do it. Will someone be upset when you don’t show up at their function? Maybe, but do it anyway. Besides, if someone is going to be dissapointed, make sure it isn’t your family…again.
3 – The presence of friends. Not that everyone in your church or organization aren’t dear, special and altogether wonderful friends. Or, that all the events you attend with them aren’t great times of fellowship… if you are a ministry leader you know what I’m getting at here. I’m talking about the friends you don’t feel pressure to be “On” with. Spend a little time with those kind of friends, relax and have a blast!
This Christmas there is still time to give the people who matter most what they all need from you and each other, the gift of presence. Start by getting alone and in the presence of the One who has given you the greatest gift of all. You’ll be glad you did.
Presence…you don’t have to wrap it!