Brand new mitts will warm my hands, but your embrace can thaw my cold heart. Your words of encouragement will make me feel “cooler and hipper” than any Apple product ever will. I’d prefer to laugh out loud with you than text “LOL” on my new Samsung galaxy. I would love to go to a concert with you instead of getting an iTunes gift card. I’d rather eat a Wendy’s value meal with you than receive a gift card for the most expensive restaurant in the city. I don’t care if you give me all the diamonds and gold in the world, if I have no one to sit with to listen to my heart: I’m the poorest of the poor. I don’t want money and I don’t want clothes; I want to know that you want to be with me. I want to be listened to. I want to listen. I want to argue because then you’re still near. Don’t give me a laptop to keep me distant from you. Don’t give me headphones to drown the sound of another human breathing next to me.
Don’t you see. All I want is your presence. You are infinitely more interesting, captivating, enthralling and compelling than any foil-wrapped gift under the tree. Your presence is what I want. It’s what I need. It’s what we all need.
Every gift under the tree can be unwrapped and eventually be forgotten. Once it’s out of the box the mystery is lost. But you. You. You are the gift I can never fully unwrap. You are an enigma, a question, a paradox that astounds and confuses me. You are who I want to know and yet won’t fully know. You are the adventure, the quest, the journey that makes me recognize my humanity, frailty and beauty. It is you my friend, my sister, my brother, my father, my mother, my co-worker, my spouse, my child. It is you who I want to be with because I know you won’t always be here. And neither will I.
So before I put all the gifts under the tree I want to sneak this last present in. I want to be a gift to you because you are a gift to me. I can’t think of a better way to do this than to give you my undivided, undistracted, full-abiding presence, time and attention.