The Gift of Presence

December Blog 2017 by Carol Kandiko, CSA

I barely remember my childhood expectation that the spirit of Christmas was getting presents. I do remember that Santa brought them! Delightful surprises! Simple gifts that Mom and Dad could afford.

I more consciously remember growing into the awareness that the real meaning of Christmas was giving presents: taking the place of Santa and hoping to delight others with just the right gift. It was important to keep the surprise, to pick pretty wrapping paper, to place the package carefully under the Christmas tree. Most important was to choose the perfect gift, one that would delight the “givee.” (Paraphrasing the wisdom of Snoopy : “Every giver needs a givee”).


Over the years there were handmade gifts of love, carefully chosen store bought gifts (not expensive for sure), and those that were an artfully created combination. Each one an offering of self and love. Each one intended to declare the esteem and affection of the giver. At least that was the theory and the goal. I know that sometimes I succeeded and sometimes I did not.

With advancing years and some wisdom of my own, I find my attention not so much on the “thing-ness” of each gift, but on the “self-ness” of it. Those early gifts were steeped in the presence of my loving parents who were channeling both Santa and God. Time has made it clearer that the true gift is the attention and love that the giver brings to the moment. It is presence that makes a present.

At Centering Space the concept of God’s Presence within each one of us and all of us together flows through our prayers. Although every season and every day offers us opportunities to be present to others, this time of year reminds us to hone those skills and to remember always that the presence we are to one another is the Presence of God.

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