If I did not go to the Navy Exchange by Halloween, I risked being unable to find the toys that the kids had asked for from Santa. There was a limited supply and they might well be sold out. That was 45 years ago, and yet, seeing the first pumpkin of fall, I begin to panic. It’s time to plan Christmas gifts for everyone
There is another issue driving my Christmas angst. I really enjoy trying to figure out meaningful gifts for each person, something I learned from my mother. For me, this gifting is personal – just the right present for the right person. The cost is irrelevant, (well, to a point) – the Heart-part is primary. This takes time – this takes thought.
Both of these issues lead me headlong into massive and multiple list-makings: Family, Friends, Others, as well as sub-categories and sub-sub-categories under each of those. Some years I choose a Theme to focus my quest. One year it was “gifts that benefit others,” one year, “only local merchants and no chain store or catalog purchases.” Yet another year, it was “something used.” You get the idea. So as a result, I was always thinking ahead. ”Where would I be on this particular day in my running around that would be enable me to scratch one more present off my list?”
The pumpkins have come and gone, the turkey and dressing feast is this week and I have not yet made one list.
In my morning meditation, Fr. Richard Rohr’s “Naked Now,” I began reading the chapter entitled “Not many things, but one thing,” a paraphrase of the Biblical story of Jesus, Mary and Martha (Luke 10). Rohr goes on to say, “The great teachers know that one major change is needed – how we do the moment, then all the this and that’s will fall into place.”
AHA time – PRESENT MOMENT – THE NOW – BE HERE NOW!
Not new information for me or for many of you. But we all seem to have a great deal of trouble actually putting this concept into practice.
Last week, I spotted the cover of one of the many catalogs I get this time of year. I saw the perfect thing for one of my sisters. I did not look at the price, I did not grab a pen and pad to start my list, I did not say, “Oh, I don’t want to order from a catalog.” I got on the phone and ordered it. DONE!
So that’s what I’ve decided to try doing this Christmas season. I’ll still make a list, but it’ll be in reverse. I’ll list the things I get, not yet to be gotten. Whenever I go out, I’ll be present to the potential presents – aware and alert.
Advent is about getting ready, being prepared and, yes, anticipation of what is to come and this year I intend to get ready, prepare and anticipate, a moment at a time, and wait for inspiration, Spiritu Sanctus.
Now what was that I needed to…Oh dear, sorry – practicing the Presence is tough.
The doorbell rings – it’s the UPS truck with a package – the gift I ordered is perfect! I reach for a pad and pen and begin my presence/present list in the NOW.