Recently Pam and I were taking a walk in the neighborhood when we saw two boys playing football against each other. This triggered memories of my childhood. Timmy (my best friend at age 10) and I would play one-on-one football. You have to see it to really understand it. But trust me, it’s possible! We played football against each for hours that year. That’s the only year I still remember my Christmas wish list as a child. I wanted a football, a helmet, and a real football uniform. You can imagine how excited I was to receive everything on that wish list. That’s right, I was all decked out for the next epic game of one-on-one football with Timmy.
It wasn’t until Pam and I had children of our own that my Christmas wish list had a different look. I wasn’t so concerned with what gifts I would get but with the gifts I would give. My wish list became synonymous with the lists of my kids. I wanted to give them everything they wanted. I loved to hear the “happy sounds” my kids would make on Christmas morning. I lived to see the sparkle in their eyes, the sense of wonder on their faces, and the gratitude in their hugs.
As our kids older, the Christmas wish list took on yet a different dimension. It was their idea, really. They wanted us to have our annual Christmas Eve party for those families we knew who were less fortunate. This was the party we had previously always had at our house for close friends. This party had always been about our own wish lists. But now that they were older, they thought it was time to make it about those families with younger children who couldn’t have the kind of Christmas we had come to expect.
When I think about Jesus’ Christmas wish list, I remember His words in Matthew 7:11… “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Jesus wants to give you the desires of your heart. He wants you to have a full and abundant life. This is His Christmas wish list. But Jesus knows we can’t really be happy, enjoy life, and experience the joy of Christmas until we embrace a different kind of Christmas, one that is focused outside ourselves. Until we care about serving others, ministering to their needs, and sharing our gifts with them, we will never experience the true joy and peace of Christmas.
Herein lies the real miracle of Christmas. Once you receive the gift of Jesus’ birth in your life with the spiritual gifts that come with it, you know there is no other gift worth giving. And so the best gift becomes the sharing of the gifts we have received from Jesus. When He left this planet to prepare a heavenly home for each one of us, He gifted us with special talents and love to give to others. I imagine Jesus’ wish list is that His followers fulfill His mission for this earth as He stated it in Luke 4:18-19… “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
May this be the Christmas Jesus receives everything on His wish list!