Giving Presence in the Present
Christmas and gift-giving, standing among all the stuff, the noise and the chaos. Christmas has become somewhat of a plummeting oneself into the art of either grab and go at the store or park yourself in front of the computer and let your fingers do the shopping, ‘Click‘.
Swirling inattentive, not really there, moments.
How often are we somewhere else when we are with people or in circumstances or perhaps even in church? Our bodies may be present but by golly, our minds are full of grocery list writing or a prior situation or while someone is talking to us, we are busy formulating our response. WHAT did we miss?
Be in the moment.
In Exodus (the theology of Exodus is Presence) Exodus 24, God called Moses up the mountain, “The LORD said to Moses, “”Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them.” (v12, emphasis mine, NKJV). For 40 days Moses was there, on the mountain, in God’s presence. Eight chapters worth of divine instruction was given. Moses was there. Many translators interpret God telling Moses to ‘stay there’ or ‘wait there.’ Yet a 19th-century Rabbi wrote from a different perspective which I adore. He explains that ‘there are times we go to a place and not actually being there, simply saying: we can exert ourselves getting to a destination, yet when we arrive, our thoughts remain at the original point of departure. The Rabbi imagined God was telling Moses not only come up the mountain but – be fully there, with complete attention, concentration – leaving all behind.’* Can you imagine how the story would have played out if Moses was distracted, thinking he forgot to blow out the candle in his tent or was busy taking in the view from ‘way up here, OH WOW, Aaron and all are so small’ all the while God’s talking and has to say, “Moses, over here, eyes HERE, pay attention, you’re going to want to hear this, know this!”
May we too be there, this holiday season and every day – be in the moment. Giving folks or our situation complete attention and concentration. It is a gift we give to others and ourselves when we are giving presence in the present, full-on presence. And may we pay close attention and not allow our mind to wander (even when we read God’s word) we don’t want to miss anything – we may need to hear this, know this!
Let’s look the bell-ringer in the eye, tell the cashier “Merry Christmas” while using their name and reciprocate a firm handshake or hug and pay close attention to the details of what others are telling us.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)
*Lois Tverberg, Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus – I had the privilege of being on the original launch team for this book, I highly recommend it.
Image credit: scottberglan.org