“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)


Early that pre-Christmas morning, I darted to my bedroom window, my six-year-old saucer eyes ablaze with wonder. During the night, pristine snow had blanketed our Seattle suburb. Yes! No school! Downstairs, my aproned mother stood over the stove, seriously crisping bacon. My dutiful Coast Guard officer father had left before sunrise, as usual, leaving me, an only child, to spend the day alone. New to the neighborhood and to snow, I pondered how one makes the most of a snowy day.

Suddenly a playful knock at the front door. There stood my daddy, grinning, dressed warmly, and in his arms he cradled a shiny new red sled! Together we spent the day wearing out those hills, up and down, down and up, laughing, breathless. Numb nose and toes, but I didn’t care. My daddy had taken the day off to play in the snow with me.

Who in your life is hungry for your time and full attention? Often it’s the most meaningful gift you can give. If you want, make it extra special with an appropriate version of a new red sled, but that’s optional. Because more than anything tangible, your presence is the most powerful expression of your love.

The first Christmas, God gave us His presence in the form of Jesus. He walked among us, taught us truth, showed us God’s character, died to give us eternal life, and left His permanent presence with us in the Person of the Holy Spirit.

Wondering what to give a loved one this Christmas? Follow in the steps of Almighty God and give them your presence. While material gifts rust and fade, your presence remains, clear and precious in their memories. Almost seven decades later, I remember a pig-tailed six-year-old sledding with her daddy. In my almost seven decades, it’s still my favorite Christmas memory.