Stereotypes tend to have a kernel of truth, although certainly we can say there are always exceptions to the rule. But regardless, the differences in us is what makes life wonderful.

This morning my pastor spoke about the importance of being present in people’s lives. Giving our time and focus to our loved ones and to the individuals we interact with can make a huge difference in their lives, how they behave for the next day or minute, and choices they and we ultimately make. One of the names Jesus is called is Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” His presence in us affects us every minute. When He came to us that Christmas so long ago He brought with Him hope for all of us.

So I’m going to try to go against my nature—which is to run away from strangers, hurry through life, and constantly be looking toward the future—by slowing down a bit in my interactions, whether they are with a store clerk, a friend who’s chatting during the day, or a child who is taking a bit too long to tell a story. I’m going to try to be in the present, give my “presence” to others, and appreciate the differences in all of us.

I want to share a very funny video that showcases the basic nature of dogs and cats and their interactions with us. Why? Because life is good in a house that enjoys the eccentricities of both the Grendel dog and the Karma queen. They need my attention and my presence. And it shows how we can live in harmony with all types of personalities.

During this Christmas season, I wish you love from friends and family and the pure joy that comes from having the presence of Jesus in your heart. And I hope that you will enjoy the differences in the people that surround you throughout your day.