It’s December and we are officially into the ‘holidaze.’ If you are a procrastinator this time of year is probably really awful. Even for the well organized there is still so much stress around this time of year. We all know and say it doesn’t have to be this way yet every year the craziness creeps in on us somehow. The spirit of Christmas can easily be pushed aside by the spirit of a culture centered on doing rather than being. In the midst of doing we often forget the most important aspect of this season-the gift of being present.
I woke up this morning thinking about how everything has turned into an opportunity to take a selfie, tweet on Twitter, or capture a video to post on Facebook. At restaurants, concerts, birthday parties, etc. the odds are most people will at some point be on their phone or tablet. There’s nothing wrong with taking a picture and capturing some memories but from my experience it can also mean you’re missing the actual moment.
Does a picture on your camera roll or posted on Facebook mean you were present at that moment? I think most of us have traded being present in the moment for being behind the screen and missing the actual moment. The thing about time is that it is always changing and you can never make it up.
I was reminded of this a few months ago when I went to see Social Distortion with friends. Going to a concert to see a legendary band like Social Distortion and then spending the whole concert taking pictures, posting on Instagram, and browsing Facebook defeats the purpose of going to see the band. You might as well stay home and watch videos of the band on YouTube. I was also distracted by the people in front of me taking selfies during the show and then posting to Instagram.
As we approach Christmas day the same challenges and distractions are there. After spending days or even weeks shopping and checking off items from the list will we be present when our family opens the presents? Or will we be busily distracted capturing the moment?
For me Christmas is always a reminder of the most extravagant gift ever given-Jesus, God with us, Emmanuel. If Christmas is about anything it is about the God of love being present. John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” He could have made a way of salvation in many other less personal ways. No other story has a love this extreme! God loving us so much that he would come live with us and be present. Wow!
This Christmas I challenge you to slow down, put down the tech, and be present. In addition to the tangible gifts you give consider giving the gift of time. Take your spouse out for coffee and leave the phones and tablets in the car. Gather around a jigsaw puzzle and don’t post any pictures on social. If need be, power down your computer, smartphone, and tablets then put them away in a drawer for a day or two. I know that sounds crazy but trust me you’ll survive! Make the choice to be present and build memories without feeling like you have to post anything on social media. This Christmas let’s give the best present-being present to one another. Merry Christmas!