Sitting here by a lit Christmas tree that has only the old tree skirt spread underneath.
Void of brightly adorned wrappings surrounding it's girth, my mind is free to think about what will eventually lie beneath. 
Will it be Good Gifts?

Of course the children can only think about when the presents will appear.  And what they will contain.  Such is the minds of little children as Christmas approaches.

But I am thinking less about presents, and more about Being Present.

To be honest, I don't even know what gift I would like for Christmas.   Sure, the iPhone 6 would be great: better camera and I bet it would not randomly shut off when I try to open a web page.
But then what?
We all know there will be a new and improved  "I" something soon.   I am beginning to think that "i" is just the beginning for I Always Want

I need something more at this point in my life.   Something more tangible.   Something that cannot be wrapped up and tied with colorful ribbon.  Especially given my other mantra this time of the year, specifically to my children, is "it's not about the presents!"

The Advent Season is upon us.  That time when we prepare and wait with great anticipation to celebrate the birth of Christ.  Our reason for the Season.

Some say that Advent is the "call to live wide awake!
For me that means that this time of year, I should be aware of opportunities to do God's work.  To show love.  Compassion.  A giving AND cheerful heart when doing so.   To be more AWARE of the needs of others around me. 

To give good gifts to the world. 

Confession: I failed at that this week.   There was a situation and I got frustrated and felt put upon.  My day got shifted and reorganized, and because it's also the busy season, I didn't like that.   I didn't say no to the opportunity, but I fear I may have missed out on something deeper while I stewed internally.   Maybe I missed the gift inside, because I didn't like how it was delivered, or the packaging.   I still don't know how to find the balance of this in my life.  The needs of others pressed upon me at inconvenient times; or when I really counted on time for myself.   Just how Present do I have to be for everyone?  Always?   Realistically, we all know we need "me" time too.

I want to always live in EXPECTATION.
Not simply counting down the days, but counting my blessings.  Most of them are wrapped, but not in fancy paper and bows; it's love that adorns them.   It's Grace that placed them to circle about me.   If only I can be mindful of that when I feel like my world is spiraling out of my control. 

Isn't it enough, to be here in the glow of the lights and the warmth of home, wrapped in one another?

You know I always have trouble choosing the perfect Christmas card.   Finding that balance between sweet, sentimental, spiritual, and a bit of humour.   I often just forego the entire thing.  This year, I'd like to DO the words I find so hard to find; and even harder to say.

So I am staying Present.
I think it's a really good gift to give to those I love.  Maybe even the best.

I've heard a thousand stories of what they think you're like 
but I've heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night 
You tell me that you're pleased 
and that I'm never alone 

You're a Good, Good Father 
It's who you are, It's who you are, It's who you are 
and I'm loved by you 
It's who I am, It's who I am, It's who I am 

I've seen many searching for answers far and wide 
But I know we're all searching for answers only you provide 
Because you know just what we need before we say a word 

How do you stay Present... when the Season seems to be all about the Presents?