Sometimes publishing posts make me nervous. What if I don’t communicate my heart well and you misunderstand? God has laid this on my heart so here goes: Last week, a post on Facebook shook me. It said something like, “We need to stop asking, ‘What do you want for Christmas?’ and start asking, ‘What will you give for Christmas?” My first thought? That’s it. That’s the reason I have struggled for years with this Christian celebration turned national marketing blitzkrieg.
Since becoming parents, we have taken a few steps to reclaim Christmas: we don’t include Santa Claus, we have a tree but all its ornaments are connected to the nativity, and every year, the girls and I pick out a different advent devotion and try to prepare our hearts for the celebration of Christ’s birth.
My efforts to reclaim the holiday have helped me stay focused and enjoy the holiday season more. But my girls? They like all the things we do, but really the prospect of a wish list fulfilled is wildly exciting and easier to grasp than the significance of a baby born thousands of years ago. And if I am honest, I have spent most of my Christian life with one foot in both worlds: worshiping Christ and carefully managing gift lists among relatives for maximum enjoyment or profit of my family.
Sharing wish lists helps relatives buy gifts we might actually love rather than gifts we return or donate once the guilt wears away. But if my motives in sharing a list are selfish, does it matter? Christ came not for the healthy but for the sick. I am sick, so sick. I need Christ.
In creating the lists I lose focus and begin to look forward, sometimes for months, to asking for the perfect gifts rather than receiving Christ. It isn’t the giver I want to reject but the process of list making I need to step away from. God provides my needs. And truly, all our needs were met in the cross. Loving gifts I may not like because the giver loves me is a habit I want to learn better.
The girls made wish list already this year. And I don’t think imposing the convictions God has laid on heart will bring anything but resentment. So next, Christmas, I will answer inquiries of “What do you want?” with a smile and a promise to love whatever is given to me.
And this Christmas? Well, the girls and I are asking, “What will we give?” And we are making plans. I can see their little hearts, now that they are 8 and 10, grasping deeper meanings as I let them wander Toy R’ Us picking out a toy they think a child on the Salvation Army tree might love. We purchase a telescope, an 80-inch doll, and a teddy bear that reads and then we drop them off at the table, inquiring about when they will be wrapped and if we can help. And while I don’t think my family has Grinch -like hearts, still I imagined the Grinch as I prayed, who’s heart grew 3 sizes that day.
We have more brainstorming and planning to do as we try to GIVE this season. What will you give this Christmas?
Sharing today with Jennifer at God Bumps. Join us!