Mary Treasured Up All These Things and Posted Them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

I know. The title is ridiculous.

But honestly. I think there is a reason Jesus was not born in this era.

Because can you even imagine? {Okay, I did imagine just a little bit. Along with my wisecrack sisters who contributed as my Hashtag Brainstorming Committee. #Boom #NailedIt}

Can you even imagine: Mary, distracted from the angel’s message because her phone was “blowing up?” The Shepherds, posting photos of the Host of Angels all over Instagram? The Three Wise Men, using Google Maps to get to Bethlehem instead of a bright star?

It’s a ridiculous thought.

{All pictures created via Google Images and Word Processing.}

{All pictures created via Google Images and Word Processing.}

But something tells me the birth of Christ was better off without our distracting technology. Something tells me the birth of Christ benefited from all of its main characters being present:

Not distracted by phones, or social media, or followers, or “likes.” Not busy trying to capture and post pictures of the bread and fish they ate earlier that day. Not preoccupied texting everyone who wasn’t at the stable with them.

So during this month of holidays I decided to give us all permission - at our various parties and celebrations and family gatherings – to put down our phones and cameras and simply be present.

Because in this day and age, we are obsessed with capturing moments instead of treasuring them. We are fixated on documenting memories rather than pondering them in our hearts. We are obsessed with social media rather than being social with the people right in front of us.

It’s as if we think that if a single memory in our lives goes undocumented, then it must have never happened. Or that if our children become famous someday – the people from “60 Minutes” are going to be really disappointed when they don’t have pictures of the food we ate last week Tuesday for their biographical slideshow.

I get it. Social media can be super duper fun and entertaining. And the creativity and ingenuity of technology is absolutely wonderful in many ways.

And I know. It’s tempting to think: “Oh, I’ll just quick take a picture and post it.”

But we all know there is no such thing as just “quickly taking a picture and posting it.”

It’s writing a witty comment to go with the photo. It’s checking back to see how many “likes” it has and reading people’s comments. It’s returning the favor of the “likes” and comments by “liking” and commenting on the pictures and statuses they posted.

It’s creating a temptation to stare at our phones the entire party. Or staring at the party through a screen the entire evening.

But let’s stop this, if only for a short time.

Let’s be present. Let’s intentionally put the phone down and soak up what’s happening around us:

The familiar {or strange} people, the interesting {or awkward} conversation, the comforting {or suffocating} hugs of Great Aunt Bertha. The delicious smells of everything chocolate, the feel of holding Grandma’s wrinkly hands, the sounds of gifts unwrapping and children giggling. All the things that can’t be fully captured on our phones.

And for everyone, both the ones who find the holidays to be “merry and bright,” and the ones who find them to be more painful reminders of what’s wrong with the world, let’s take precious time to think about what it means that God became a man in order to save us. In order to save the world and fix everything that’s broken.

Let’s think about what it means that the people in the room with us are also God’s children, in need of His love and mercy and grace and peace. Like Mary, let’s “treasure up all these things, and ponder them” in our hearts.

And let’s hold each other accountable.

Let’s stop texting the people who aren’t in the same room as us. {And the people who are in the same room as us too.}

Let’s kindly remind each other that our selfies all look exactly the same, minus the extra red and green tinsel in the background and the sickly winter tan we have all gotten over the past few months.

While a picture might be worth a thousand words, it will never be able to capture what all our senses and emotions can hold in the present.

And don’t get me wrong, “being present” can also mean, “being exhausted.” It takes a lot more effort to engage the people around us than it does to stare at a screen.

But our presence is the best present we can give to our children, our family, and our friends this holiday season. 

Let’s be present.  

 

Grace and Peace,
Kendra

 

P.S. I am slightly embarrassed that of all the things I wrote on my old blogthis was what I deemed important enough to revise and repost on my new website. But knowing how I struggle with the temptation {sometimes daily} to be present with the people I am in the same room as, I thought it was a great reminder of blessing each other with our attention, our conversation, and our effort to make real connections with real people during the holiday season.