Posted by: Ed Deiss | December 24, 2020

The Gift of Our Presence

It was a garland wrapped strings of lights in the shape of a tree from ceiling to floor in the corner of our living room, as there are no pine trees in Singapore. Still, my Dad’s ingenuity was spot on and he did not want to cut down a palm tree and bring it in our home. That was our Christmas tree and when I arose early in the morning on Christmas day, they are all there, just waiting. The presents.

I remember as a child the feeling of Christmas, the anticipation and the excitement of waking up knowing I had waited another 364 days to get here. Those feelings as a youth have bridged over to my life as an adult, yet there is a realization that fuels that excitement for different reasons. It is a simple message from that day where time stood still, where the simple smile of a child in a manger reassured that love binds all of us.

As I look at our Christmas tree, and kneel to give and receive presents, I find myself relating to the little drummer boy and found myself doing what he is doing, banging my drums thinking I need to be found worthy on the basis of my gifts. However, he did not play to be known or to receive something back or for self-gain; he just wanted to honor the Lord. And what is perfect about his gift? His presence. He taught that all that we can give is…us.

And he played his best for Him.

It starts this way for all of us, being the little drummer boy. We feel completely inadequate, and can’t help to feel that way. All we have is this drum, or any talents we have, and told to bring nothing and just play the drum. And so we play, and play our best, all too aware of our frailty and shortcomings and with all that we are, and with nothing we have, we are giving our best. And knowing that me and my drum are wonderfully his and that I do not need some token of an excellent gift to be made worth loving.

The commercialization and busyness of Christmas can easily distract from the simple message the day marks when our humanity on Earth met the divinity of Heaven with humility, acceptance, and an open invitation.

When I kneel for gifts at our Christmas tree now, I view it from the eyes of that little drummer boy looking at the manger in that stable on the first Christmas morning. And as he plays his drum he tells me that I don’t really need to perform for him, I don’t need a gift of excellence to be worth loving and being here; I am loved and received already and my presence is the perfect gift. Even though what I have to offer is humble, I am also reminded by that I should give my best, play my best, serve my best, perform my best, and contribute my best with the confidence to offer my best. He knew that he didn’t have much, but he gave what he could. Certainly I can do that as well.

We don’t always have to give material gifts, in fact many of the best gifts I found were not under the Christmas tree. We can give of ourselves through our talents, our time, or just our love for others.

In this difficult year of 2020, we all were reminded of how much being together means. Let’s make the gift of presence and give of ourselves, drum and all.

“It all happened in a moment — a most remarkable moment.

God came near.

He came not as a flash of light or as an unapproachable conqueror, but as One whose first cries were heard by a peasant girl and a sleepy carpenter. The hands that held him were not manicured, but callused and dirty.

No silk. No ivory. No hype. No party. No hoopla. God had come near … for you.” – Max Lucado (God Came Near)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.



  1. Yep. We didn’t need a pine tree to celebrate Christmas. One of the many lessons we learned together. I love you son. Dad

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