Presents are exciting, aren't they? The wonder. The anticipation. What could be in that prettily wrapped box with the shiny bow?
As the gift is placed in your hands, your expectation grows. Will this be something you've dreamed about, something you've waited for? You're not sure, but you delight in unwrapping the paper and untying the bow to discover what's inside.
Whether or not the item is something you'd expected or not, it's a visible reminder that someone cares enough about you to give you a gift.
However, as with all material things, the gift will eventually wear out. But there is another kind of present with lasting value: the gift of "presence." Consider the giver of the gift you received. How has their presence in your life made a difference to you? Reciprocally, how has your presence in their life helped or benefitted them?
Think of the people who are closest to you and their presence in your life. When they connect with you, it is a visible reminder that you are cared about and loved (and vice versa, as you reach out to them).
Presents are special, but the best present you can give to someone else is your "presence." The wonder. The excitement. The anticipation of hearts connecting!
Truly, the compassion of the human heart is a gift of "presence." <><<><<><
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." - Colossians 3:12
Ah, memories! They tend to sneak up at Christmas and other holidays; maybe even days like today—at New Year's.
There are other times during the year, too, when you might feel a tug on your heartstrings as old memories resurface. It's heartwarming to recall the good times of the past, but sometimes longings for those days can cause sadness.
I smiled as I sorted through a stack of decades-old photos this morning. The photos brought back great memories, but also left me with a sense of longing. When you visually scan the span of your life, a lot of thoughts come to mind: How far have I come in my life? What have I accomplished? How have I impacted others' lives?
So, how does one grapple with longing? My heart tells me the way to do this is through the eyes of faith. Created by the God of the Universe, we were blessed in many ways, including the capacity to hold onto memories. (Of course, it's up to us to focus on the good ones and not otherwise).
If you find yourself longing for the past or for those people who are no longer with you, there are things you can do:
1)Pray. God can provide the comfort you need. He loves you and He knows your every need even before you ask.
2)Think about the past, but with the understanding that you were surrounded by people who loved you, cared for you, and guided you. Be grateful for their presence and their influence in your life. For those who are no longer with you, be comforted in knowing the love you shared will live on.
3)Now, think about the present. Who are the people that surround you now? Family, friends, neighbors, or others? How do they fit into your life and how do you fit into theirs? How do they love and care for you, and how do you love and care for them?
Remember: whether in the past—or the present—you were/and are—surrounded by other people. You are not alone in the world. Reach out to others.
What does the Bible have to say about the past? A verse from Isaiah 43:18-19, says, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."
Pray how you can make the best of the present. It's all you or I have to work with. We can only live one day at a time.
One night, after praying about longings of the past, a thought came to mind. It helped me. I think it might help you, too:
1)Think about the people who are part of your life today.
2)Skip ahead in your mind to years ahead in the future. From that vantage point, look back at today. (Maybe even take a black and white photo of yourself, your family, or friends).
3)Visualize now as a time in the past. It might just "seem like old times" after all!
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
- 2 Corinthians 5:17
May each day of your new year be prayerful, fruitful, and blessed!
Photos: Carl Pelander/Nancy Johnson
Through God's Word!"
Find inner peace through Positive Thought, through Faith in God and through God's Word.