Christmas Presence


During hospice volunteer training many years ago, each member of the full-time professional county-based hospice team presented one of the training sessions.

Something the chaplain said about the role of the hospice volunteer has stuck with me down through the years:

“When you arrive at the door of a terminally ill client as a hospice volunteer, you don’t just bring the good news, you are the good news.”

At Christmas time, in particular, but all through the rest of year, as well, it seems to me,  as fellow humans beings, the chaplain’s pronouncement is a worthy call to each one of us–hospice volunteer or not.

And so a Haiga challenge for me, each and every day (and for you, too, perchance?) ...


Christmas Presence

Cards. Gifts. Reaching out.

Calls. Visits. Listening ear.

…Attending to needs…

Best present ever? Presence.

Be (the) present.


 Whatever holiday or season you’re celebrating, here’s to giving and being gifted with the blessing of heartfelt presence.

17 responses to “Christmas Presence

  1. Thanks for sharing this valuable perspective – particularly at this time of year. This message was very timely for me as this concept of listening with love has been on my mind lately. Yesterday I read a daily reading in Mark Nepo’s The Book of Awakening about listening to the stories of others and offering “a thread of your own story as a gift in return.” (p. 406) I am grateful for your gift of this thread of your life’s story that you offered today and this gentle reminder.

    • Thank YOU so much for taking time to read and to share your affirming feedback. I love Mark Nepo’s insight-advice about listening to others’ stories and responding with “a thread of your own story as a gift in return.” I especially appreciate your sharing your sorty-connections with the post.Listening (period.) is hard to do. Listening with love, as you are aspiring to do is a costly discipline, but well worth the cost. I say that in the abstract, because I don’t honestly know if/when I truly listen, and/or listen with love! God bless you!!! …Please share any other insights; I appreciate your kindness and wisdom. Thank you again for your self-giving. I appreciate your insights and encouragement very much!

  2. Be (the) present. — lovely! Something to keep in mind all year ’round. Thanks 🙂

  3. Ditto, Tabatha! I loved when someone’s words strike so true that they can be kept close to enrich not only YOUR life, but OTHER lives as well!

    • Amen! Thank you for taking time to read and to synthesize BIG IDEAS as only you can! I appreciate the way you get to the essence, the truth, the heart of things! God bless you. So glad the chaplain’s words rang true to you, too! So grateful that PF provides a place to share–to enrich and be enriched. Thank you!

  4. Having been there, the message you gained that “you” are the present is so true. Love “present-ly”.

    • So sorry that you and your husband needed to experience hospice ministry; so glad that you experienced the good-news presence of those who ministered to you and your husband when you needed them.

      Thank you for taking time to read and to affirm the poem and backstory message! I especially appreciate your reaction to “present-ly.” It was a last minute revision (from “Presently.”) after the initial post; I worried that I trivialized by adding the hyphen. I’m glad you liked the twofold meaning that the hyphen brought; for me, it also slowed the word down so that the present (tense/gift) was emphasized. I don’t know what it is, but no matter poetry or prose, I spend ten times (literally) the time on the last line or words than on the rest of the text. I can’t tell you how many variations, in line(s), punctuation, and words I did of what “finally” has become the last seven-syllable line divided visually into three. I think my nerves freeze when the end comes… Most times, I think I make things worse by revising the endings. I am so glad, at least for you, that I didn’t mess up big time this morning! God bless you!

  5. I absolutely love the idea of you being the good news–your presence being the present. I’m trying to approach the holidays with just this spirit.

    • Amen! Thank you so very much for taking time to read and to share your affirmation. …It’s not easy to be really present; to really listen (as least not for me!)…Every blessing! Lucky people who are in your presence!

  6. Be the presence. I love that. thank you for sharing this.

    • Thank you very much for taking time to read and to share your very kind comment. I’m gratified that the presence concept resonated with you! God bless you!

  7. Thank you for this! Your poem reminds us of what is most important at this time of year and at all times – being present to those we love and to those who are strangers to us. I just read Joan Chittister’s commentary on the section of the Rule of St. Benedict that deals with the reception of guests. Chittister says ” The message to the stranger is clear: Come right in and disturb our perfect lives. You are the Christ for us today.” To me this also speaks to our attitude and response toward the current humanitarian crisis involving Syrian refugees.

    I missed your post last week, but just marveled at it now. What a perfect Call to Worship it would make during Advent! The reverso form is definitely the right form for presenting the dimensions of Christ’s coming into our lives. Thank you for both posts.

    • Thank YOU so very much for taking time to read both posts and to share your affirming reflections! I am very grateful to you for including Joan Chittister’s quote. More than a decade ago, I had the blessing of making a Holy Week retreat at a Benedictine Nuns’ monastery. The sense of welcoming was palpable. Thank you for reminding me about that graced time and lesson! …It’s one I definitely need to practice more. …Am glad you liked the reverso poem format for the Advent peom. You are most welcome to take it and “do” something with it for next Advent, if you wish! …God bless you! Thank you again for the gift of your presence in this space!

  8. Again your words strike a responsive chord. I will keep this thought with me in the days ahead.

    • Your comments do that for me!…I like the idea of: “a responsive chord.” Reminds me that gifting someone with really listening, and then responding in love rings true; is music to a listener’s ears! Thank you for reading, commenting, and giving me more to think about! God bless you!

  9. I try so hard to be present. You’ve given me quite another way to think about this!

    • I’m sure your trying to be present is recognized by the lucky recipients, and is received as a gift. Few receive the gift of presence since most of us (myself included) are never as present as we could/”should?” be toward others! Thank you for reading the post and taking time to share your affirmation. I’m very glad that the post has added value to your commitment to be present. God bless you!

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