It was a first for me. It was gentle, it was loving, it was sweet pillow talk, but it was definitely my very first Christmas scolding.
After a great night with my family filling our home, eating way too much (my wife can really rock the holiday turkey), and watching the kids tear into the presents, we collapsed into bed. That’s when the loving reprimand came my way.
“You haven’t told me anything you want for Christmas,” she said.
“I told you I wanted a harmonica,” I responded.
It’s at this point I can’t blog what happened next, I can’t even really describe it in person, but let’s just say my wife has learned to roll her eyes even when they’re closed.
It’s pretty impressive.
The problem is, she’s totally right. I have racked my brain trying to answer her question for weeks. There is just nothing that I want, let alone need, that I could put on the Christmas list.
I have to admit it puts someone in an awkward position during the giftgiving season, but every time I try, I just come up empty.
So, before I drifted off to sleep last night, I was thinking about our discussion and I remember that song so popular during the season “My Grown-up Christmas List.”
Do you remember me
I sat upon your knee
I wrote to you
With childhood fantasies
Well, I’m all grown up now
And still need help somehow
I’m not a child
But my heart still can dream
So here’s my lifelong wish
My grown up christmas list
Not for myself
But for a world in need
I guess I do have a Christmas list…
- I want children to act like children. Every day the news is filled with stories of bullying, hazing and hurting. Teachers are powerless and the administration is overwhelmed because of funding needs and crazy regulations. And the children pouring into the system are being raised on a diet of monstrously violent video games, sexually explicit reality shows and disrespectful self-indulgent music. I want homes that shelter, schools that build up, churches that lead and friends that love. I want the innocence of our kids back.
- I want husbands and wives to start acting like husbands and wives. To realize that the vows they took were meant to solidify their commitment to selfless acts of love toward the other, and not a contractual obligation you could hold over your spouse. I want husbands and wives to try harder. I want them to love as a choice and not as an emotion. I want them to build a home, not a future.
- I want the church to start fighting the enemy, and not itself. I am worn out on petty bickering, name-calling and pointing. One church looks at another and paints them into a corner without ever really knowing what the other believers across town are all about. Assumptions, jealousies and stupidity lead one congregation to expend the majority of its energy tearing down another. There is an enemy, and we are an army. I wish we’d fight on the same side.
- I want to punch poverty in the eye. In my country we spend enough on ice cream and deodorant to provide food, clothing and shelter for almost everyone on the planet who doesn’t have it. I give up my dessert and be willing to stink, if 6000+ children didn’t die every day of starvation. I’m tired of solvable problems going unsolved because it’s inconvenient. I’d love to have less, so that those who have none might have some.
- I want government to just shut up for a little while. They talk, they debate, they argue and they philosophize… but when are they going to listen. I don’t mean that head nodding, visual affirmation that I’m with you and understand but all the while the politicians are just wanting you to be quiet so they can talk some more. I’d like my representatives, bare minimum, to at least represent what I believe, want and desire.
- I want to bring love back. I don’t mean random acts of kindness, or evidence that you’re in my thoughts. I mean selfless, sacrificial, often anonymous and totally undeserved displays of what’s really going on in another’s heart. That we would give the benefit of the doubt to complete strangers. The road rage would turn into prayer. That our social cliques would be shattered. That our practice of passing judgment would drown in a pool of tears for and with others. That we would instinctively, inherently and passionately give of our resources, our time and our very selves just because it’s the right thing to do. And, we couldn’t stop ourselves because we are so in love with those who need love.
Wow, I guess I’m a bit more needy than I thought. Somewhere in the back of my mind I must have believed that not having anything on the Christmas list was honorable and proved I wasn’t greedy.
But, there it is. I have a list.
Sorry Kathy. I know this doesn’t really help your Christmas shopping, but thanks for reminding me there really are some things I want for Christmas.
So, for all who read this, I must admit that our world and its needs seem a bit overwhelming. There is no denying that.
Still, as a man of faith, I believe that the God of the universe has always used individual lives to change the course of humanity. One man or woman living selflessly for others under the direct instruction of God can change the world: Moses, King David, the apostle Paul, Mary…
Even as daunting as this Christmas list may sound, I need to remember (and you need to remember) what God said through an angelic voice to that teenage girl from a nowhere town who gave birth to the God of all creation:
“For nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:37
By the way, if you’re reading this Kathy, I just remembered my Starbucks card ran out…there’s an idea? Merry Christmas!