The Timeless Gift of Time

My relatives are in for a real treat this year.

Ordinarily, I give commodities for Christmas. You know, dollar bills, clothes, gift cards to Chili’s. But my family can get that stuff anywhere. Every bank’s got money. Any mall has clothes. Walgreens has a gift certificate to any restaurant your arteries desire.

What money can’t buy is time – time with me!

The family has never come right out and said it, but I can see it in their eyes. My sister-in-law doesn’t really want a James Avery pendant. She longs for a long walk with her sister’s husband.

My son isn’t truly interested in a crossbow. He’s inconspicuously crying out for a deep conversation with his old man. Preferably one that covers the birds and the bees and the various causes of hemorrhoids.

My mother, now I could buy her a coffee mug covered with her grandkids’ pictures. But I know she’s really dying for a two-hour reprise of my bank job. The regulations have changed so!

And my wife, let’s be honest. It’s not about Vail vacations or candlelight this or that. It snows in Colorado every year. There will always be sand in Galveston. But there won’t always be time with this strapping symbol of virility. Why don’t we head down to Tractor Supply?

So many relatives, so little time- yet so much of it just waiting to be spent with my mother-in-law over a tall ice water at a north Dallas Denny’s.

See, this season is not about money or gifts. It’s about time with those you chose – and those God chose for you. We may not all be in arranged marriages, but we’re all in arranged families.

Time is the great scarcity of our age. It limits wealthy and poor alike. No level of privilege escapes its ticking. So we try to maximize it. A biological clock pushes us toward productivity.

Unsatisfied with the natural timekeepers of season and sun, we have parsed time to the beat of a cesium atom (on which a second is based). A whole industry has ascended to assist us. Do you live the 7 habits? Are you GTD? The mere concept of time management would have furled the collective brow of the ancients.

Inventors and marketers try to sell us time, though things rarely work out as advertised. An automatic dishwasher frees you to waste your evening in front of the TV. A drive-thru window frees you to drive around some more. Email software frees you to write nothing of substance to everyone you know.

Managed or not, one day time will end. Eternity will resume. Only one man has experienced both.

Today, we celebrate his arrival and a great miracle of Christmas: that God shed eternity to join us in time. Just in time. “When the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman… that we might receive adoption to sonship.” (Galatians 4)

We’ll do well to spend our time like he spent his: early morning prayer hikes, long meals with close friends, talking about things that endure, confronting injustice, giving compassion.

As the prayer goes, thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. And in time as it is in eternity.

Kevin Thompson writes weekly for The Boerne Star in the Texas hill country. Follow him at

2 Responses to “The Timeless Gift of Time”

  1. 1 Jason Booker (@jasonbooker) December 26, 2012 at 09:57

    Good stuff! But I would expect no less from you, Mr. Strapping Symbol of Virility. I like your third-to-last sentence the best—spending time as he spent his. Something for me to meditate on as the new year begins. I’ll put it at the top of my GTD list. 😉
    Merry Christmas to you and your gal!

  2. 2 John Halloran December 26, 2012 at 13:42

    Kevin, this is so very true… what is crazy is that all of our “time-saving devices” that should allows us the opportunities to have more family time, usually give us the time to get more “time-saving devices!”… We only have now… the present… and that is the greatest gift we can give… our presence!

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