Gift of Presence

Presents are not necessary to celebrate Christmas. Presence is. Presence with your children, your family, your friends. In a conversation with a stranger. Challenge yourself this Christmas and give the gift of true presence.”
~Fr. Vargas 

I quite enjoy the act of gift giving. There is something so special about taking the time to explore what it is that I can offer a loved one that they wouldn’t normally gift themselves. I love the process of choosing a present, wrapping it up so it looks beautiful, the anticipation of unwrapping…it is all so playful and delightful to me…both giving and receiving.

Although gifts can be delightful to give, to gift the greatest present of all, Presence, is priceless.

How often do you recount an experience or share your feelings and feel truly heard?

Where there is no judgement, no expectation of being different, and no advice offered? Where the listener doesn’t relate your experience back to their own story, try to solve your problem, or try to reassure you that things look better than they are?

When we share, what we really want is to be fully heard and fully seen…an experience that unfortunately, can be so rare.

And as listeners, in our very best efforts to connect to another, we can actually be creating more disconnects.

This season, practice offering the gift of your pure presence to another person.

Quiet your own thoughts in order to really hear what your family member is sharing with you. Soften your energy and let your heart connect with what your friend is feeling. Give them time to fully finish their thoughts, without interruption or assuming what they’re going to say.

In turn, you are also gifted with presence as well. To get a glimpse into someone else’s world and be fully immersed in the moment with another human being – precious.

In the midst of the holiday bustle, create time to gift yourself presence as well. Set aside time for your practice, whether it is on your mat, your meditation cushion or a walk in nature. Take a moment to breathe. Still your thoughts. Tune into yourself. Feel deeply.

In this place, you will find the greatest gift of all – YOU.

with warmth,


Alice Hong

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