Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Presence-Thrifty Gifty #10
This thrifty gifty is the thriftiest gifty yet! It will also make the biggest impact on the receiver! So what is this wonderful gift??? Presence! What, did you spell this word wrong? Is it supposed to be "presents?", you ask. NO! Presence, that is how it is spelled. Okay, so what is "presence?"
I was giving this a lot of thought. What is the spirit of Christmas? It was God's gift to us, the gift of His son, Jesus. It was the "presence" of a newborn baby that came to this earth as a gift to us for our salvation. It was Jesus' "presence" on earth during his short lifetime that taught us how to live. It was His "presence" on the cross that enabled us to have eternal life. God gave us a lot of "presence" didn't He?
So how can we emulate Him during this season and give "presence" to our loved ones? We can give them "presence!"
Our presence is so important to those we love. What good is a present if we are not "present" when we give it? The ability to share our time with others is much more valuable to them than sending a gift their way. So here are ways you can share your time with others and it won't cost you a dime.
The gift of yourself is always more valuable than anything else we can give.
1. Visit your family. Spend time with your parents, your siblings, your neices or nephews, your dear friends. It doesn't have to be a long time but the fact that you stopped by to say Hello will mean the world to them. Have a cup or tea or coffee and chat a little. You will be the bright spot in their day!
2. Offer a ride to someone in need. Is there an elderly person that cannot drive themself to the doctors or to go shopping? Take some time out of your day to serve them. They will not forget your kindness. That is the kind of "presence" that means a lot!
3. Make cookies with a child or take them to the movies or to the park. The gift of your time will send a message to them that they are important to you.
4. Create a "date night" for your spouse or significant other. Make it special: cook dinner or pack a "picnic" and enjoy your time together in your home or somewhere else you enjoy.
5. Spend a day together with someone special. Go to the park, take a walk, window shop in fun places like New Hope, Pa or even the Mall.
6. Look through old pictures with your Mom or Dad or Grandma or Grandpa. It might be a wonderful trip through memory lane, helping them remember those special people they loved and lost.
7. Call a friend who is far away and spend some time chatting on the phone. Don't unload the dishwasher or do your chores while you are talking, just sit and talk and listen. Don't multitask! Give them your full attention! It will be a more meaningful conversation.
8. Visit someone in the nursing home. If you don't have a loved one in a nursing home, then lucky you. There are many people who are in nursing homes that never receive visitors. If you have a well-behaved dog, call ahead and see if they allow you to bring your dog to see the residents. I used to do that with my dog, Stash, and everyone loved when I brought him. In fact, Stash seemed to "know" that he had to be really well-behaved and he was so much fun to have there because it made it easy to start conversation with the people there.
9. Share your talents! Can you play piano or another instrument? You don't have to be a superstar to share the gifts God gave you. Ask a nursing home if you can come and play some music for the residents of a nursing home. When my daughters were young, they were learning to play piano. We would call ahead and tell the staff that we would like to play piano for the residents and they would play. Yes, they made plenty of mistakes, but no one cared or knew. They just enjoyed the music, they sang and clapped and had a nice day.
10. Make dinner for someone. There are many people that can benefit from this! There isn't anyone I know that wouldn't enjoy a homemade dinner brought to them. Young busy moms, shut-ins, busy grandmoms and grandpas, working people, college students, you name it, they would all appreciate a homecooked dinner. Just make twice as much as your would for your own family and it isn't much more work.
11. Invite someone over. So what if your house is a mess ( as mine usually is, since I am always busy running here or there.) If you wait until your house is perfect, you will never have anyone over! True friends love you for who you are, not how your house looks!
12. Offer to babysit or "adult sit." Those who care for others need a break and your "presence" to them will offer them relief and a time to relax.
13. Share your talents (yes, this was so important I had to mention it again!) Are you a good decorator or organizer? Help someone with these tasks. Whatever you are good at can be used to help others. Maybe you are good at home repairs (or maybe the man in your life is!) Many people wish they had help with this.
14. Help someone clean. Most people can do this. Fall leaves make a mess, is there someone that still needs help picking up these things in their yard? How about cleaning a room for someone or helping them clean their floors or bathrooms?
Okay, so I think you get my jist. These are sacrifices we can make as gifts to others. We can teach our children to be sacrificial to others, too. These gifts do not cost a lot of money but they mean more than anything you can buy because it is the gift of YOU! The gift of your "presence." My final thought on all of this comes from Matthew 25: 35-40 in the bible:
"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thristy and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prision and go to visit you? The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."