I can understand why the Holidays are sometimes depressing for many folks. We start weeks before Christmas buying our gifts for friends, family, and loved ones. Everywhere we go, we hear Christmas music on the radio and in the malls. We see the excitement (and sometimes fear) in children's faces when they have that all important chat with Santa. We are busy planning Christmas get-togethers with co-workers, friends, and family. There is the tremendous build-up before Christmas, then the Big Day comes, and it's over. Just like that; it's over.
Of course, there are many that dread the Holidays because they don't get to experience any of the things and events I mentioned above so it can be depressing for them not because of the let-down, but because there "never was" to begin with.
For most of us, the few days after Christmas, before New Years, is dedicated to taking down Christmas Trees and ornaments and packing them in the attic until next year. Or, we might be spending our Gift Cards from our favorite Department Store, or perhaps returning that Sweater that only your great-grandmother would have loved in the 1930's. We all spend too much money buying gifts and presents, with good intentions, but most of the time it ends up being more gifts than any of us could possible use or need and, then, its back to life as normal—just with more stuff than when we started.
I have to remind myself on occasion, as a Christian, that there is really nothing I can buy, wrap-up and give to God as a Present. Don't get me wrong, I've certainly tried. I've tried to dress better when attending church. I've tried to give to worthy causes (sometimes just to eliminate my guilt). I've tried to educate myself in certain church classes and doctrines to make others think I was more intellectual. I have tried to impress others with my Outside Appearance instead of any Inside Gifts I may have. Before you judge me, you've done the same things. I'm just being honest. We all try to "wrap ourselves up" with some beautiful wrapping paper so we can give God ourselves in some form of a Present that is as worthless to God as my great-grandmother's 1930's Sweater.
What God wants from us is NOT our Presents, but He wants our Presence. HE created YOU and YOU alone with special gifts and talents to be used in HIS service. He wants your presence in speaking to others when the opportunity arises. He wants your presence in touching the life of a young person. He wants your presence in restoring the relationship with your spouse. He wants your presence in setting a better example at work. He wants your presence in reaching others for HIM in only ways that you can do it with the gifts and abilities that God has uniquely blessed you with.
As you look at your Christian Life, are you guilty of giving God your Presents or your Presence?