The word comes from the Latin root pre- (“before”) and –esse– (“to be”), taking short trip through the French before landing in our language.
Esse is where we get our word ESSENCE. Think of it. When you are honored with a gift, the giver is putting his (or her) self in front of you. It’s a uniquely vulnerable position, really.
I know how upset I feel when a gift-giving venture of mine misses its mark. I know the feeling of watching the face of the receiver intently, hoping to see a smile, hoping they’ll see the love I put into it.
I hate gift-giving. In our culture, it’s almost turned into a pattern of demand and fulfillment, demand and fulfillment. Yet, you want to give them something THEY want, so…well, I haven’t found the answer for our family yet.
Then, oh then, there is the word PRESENCE. Same root words. But think of it! The greatest present of all…the PRESENCE of Jesus. Born in a manger, putting before us the very essence of God.
Oh yeah. It’s Christmas.
WORD NERD CHALLENGE OF THE WEEK: As you open presents this Christmas, think of the honor you’re being given with each gift, whether it hits the mark or not. Honor the giver with your gratitude and love in return. Sing “The Little Drummer Boy.” Remember the presence of Jesus.