If you are looking for the best place to be to enjoy the holidays, hang out with the preschoolers. Yes, they want all the gifts and all the cookies.  And yes, they still use the word “mine” twice as often as any other word. But at the same time, they are the most enthralled and the most amazed by every facet of the Christmas holiday. The simplest of decorations and the smallest of gifts are viewed with wide-eyed wonder and joy. It’s difficult to be in a room with a preschooler at Christmas time and not be caught up in their excitement. And it just so happens that being in that room with them can be the greatest gift you give them. Being there to hear them tell of trips to Grandma’s house or making snow angels reminds them that no matter how busy the season, you care about their world and what they are doing each week.

While many of the people around them are hurrying from one event to another, you have time to sit and listen and hear their joy. You are present and that is a great present itself! As you show up with them at church, take a few minutes to put yourself in their shoes. For many preschoolers, this may be their first time hearing the story of the angel, and Mary, and the birth of the King in a manger. Let their awe carry you back to that place where you hear with your heart and not just your ears. Oftentimes, adults have heard the Christmas story so many times that we can lose the wonder of it. This December, sit on the floor close to your preschoolers, and follow their lead in hearing this story for the first time all over again.

The holidays offer many opportunities to show up randomly in the life of your little ones. If you church offers a special event, make a point of finding your little ones there and say hello to their families. It will take a few extra minutes of your time, but it will give you a boost of that preschool perspective that makes everything wonderful. And they delight in seeing you outside the classroom. Mailing a Christmas card to their home, bonus points if it has Christmas stickers in it, is another way to be present during these fun times.

And as you are intentional to be present in the lives of your little ones this holiday, remember to be present in the other aspects of your life, with just as much intentionality.  The holidays are notorious for being jammed with events and commitments that do everything except enhance the Heavenly Peace that we sing about but rarely experience. Marking family and personal time on your calendar before you begin to accept invitations to outside events will help you to truly be present each and every day for the people you love most.

Being present—fully present—with your family, your friends, and your little ones will be the best present you can give. Both to them and to yourself this Christmas.

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Barbara Graves

Barbara loves God, children's ministry, coffee, the Braves, and her granddaughter Eden-Grace. She's been in ministry for over 30 years and wishes she didn't have to sleep so she could write, teach, and read a little more.

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