There has always been something special about Christmas.
As a little girl, I remember counting down the days until my little pigtails, pink PJs, and bright blue eyes would run to see how many presents I had under the tree. The excitement didn’t end with the presents, though. After opening gifts, my family would spend hours playing, eating, and making memories.
The presents made me feel loved, but the special moments came afterward when I spent time with my family. I secretly wished the day would never end; it was magical. My parents were faithful to read the real Christmas story, emphasizing the true meaning of Christmas. They would always gently remind us that it’s only because of Jesus that we have hope and a purpose.
As I grew older and my presents got bigger, I still enjoyed waking up and spending time with my family. My parents made sure we kept the traditions—right down to the pink PJs. We would read the Bible together as a family and focus on the reason for our celebration.
Now raising my own family, I see the value in this meaningful Christmas tradition. My parents’ presence, not just at Christmas but throughout the year, is what has sustained me through thick and thin.
They not only shared about God’s presence, they lived it out by showing me a constant, never-changing, and always-giving love—just like His.
The greatest gift they gave me was their presence.
I have two little boys of my own now, and my husband and I want them to experience God’s presence. But this can be difficult in the world where social media “steals” our time. And I realized that watching everyone else’s highlight reel of their Christmas was stealing my presence away from my husband and sons.
There are so many voices out there that cause white noise during the holidays. We forget that as parents or daughters or friends we can model what being present looks like. And the gift of time is what the people in our lives crave most.
This year I plan on giving my family a gift that you can never put a price on. One that creates memories through generations—my presence. I want to model what our heavenly Father gives us each and every day. And through the years, I hope my children crave God’s gift to us, His presence.
Let’s all make a pact together to put down our phones and computers. Let’s eliminate the busyness and white noise of the holiday season. Let’s sit with a Bible and read about the birth of the One who beautifully designed us. Let’s bask in His presence.
Ashley Shepherd is a small town girl with a dreamer’s heart. She and her husband, Ryan, raise their two boys in East Tennessee with a huge plate full of life that they wouldn’t trade for anything. Ashley grew up a preacher’s daughter and has always had a heart for God’s Word. She has the type of personality that needs accountability, so when she launched an online Bible study last fall, God brought over 9,000 women to that community in four weeks. BeautifullyDesigned.com