This past week I had the blessing of visiting my family in Kentucky.
In addition to Thanksgiving, we celebrated my father’s 100th birthday. As our family honored my dad with a luncheon arranged by my sister, I reflected on the gift of presence.
No store brought “present” was needed in that moment. The greatest present for Dad — and all of us — was each other’s presence.
That moment gave me some pause about the truest and most beautiful presents in life. Some come in human form. Others come from creation.
As an artist drawn to paint nature, I see what a glorious collection of presents it gives us each and every day and especially every season. Think about winter, for example. It is abundant with presents. The sacred peace of an evening snowfall. The pine-scented fragrance of an evergreen tree. The clear air of a winter morning.
Amidst culture’s call to look for presents in stores this holiday season, I encourage you to look for them in creation. Enjoy a walk with a friend and delight in holly trees and mistletoe. Take a neighbor that can no longer drive to see nearby woods and listen to their winter silence. Catch snowflakes with a child on a snowy day.
Give the gift of your presence and the presents of nature this Christmas.