You can tell a lot about a child by their Christmas wish list. I remember one year, our eldest, an adventurer, wanted mystery books; our #2 daughter, the girly-girl, wanted a tea set and a parasol; our son, guy that he is, wanted a slingshot, just like his Bible hero David: and our youngest—well, my sweet relationship gal just wished to go to Grammy’s house!
My perennial list includes the following:
- I wish there was no such thing as dust;
- I wish the words “it’s not fair” would be stricken from the English language;
- I wish toilet paper rolls never needed replacing
No seriously, what do I want for Christmas? And what does it say about me? To tell you the truth, the trappings of the season are exactly that to me: trappings. They suffocate me. They smother me in worldly materialism. I can’t breathe; I can’t find a baby in a manger in the mounds of wrapping paper. That angst inspired me to write my children a different kind of wish list one year. I wrote,
“I do not want traditional gifts this year wrapped in something that will just clog a landfill. If you must give me something, give me time. Give me soil, give me a drink of water. Better yet, give to others. Give, out of your love for me: bread, milk, blankets, seeds. Give literacy. Give the gospel. Give your love to others. Give generously. Give from a heart of sacrifice. Don’t give leftovers. Don’t be a Cain. Be an Abel. Let God testify of your gifts (Hebrews 11) so that even after death, your sacrifice will speak to others.”Their gifts to me that year were precious. And even since, they are so mindful about what would please me to unwrap Christmas morning: a coupon for “Date with Mom,” a donation to Wycliffe Bible Institute, a poem, that sort of thing. One year they prepared and sang me a song. I’m a sucker for a good song.
Do you want to get in the mood for Christmas? Here is a poem written by my sister, Rev. Misty Mowrey:
Tiny little baby, sleeping in my arms.
Do you know I am your mommy?
Can you tell my voice from others?
How strange that the first sounds you heard
Were lowings and bleatings and brayings.
Your first smells were sweet hay and sour straw.
We had visitors the night you were born.
Did you know?
You stayed awake so long, watching shepherds kneel by your bed.
They said angels told them of your birth.
Was it the same angel who visited me?
This warm, gentle man is your daddy.
Only not your real Father: He lives in heaven.
This is Joseph, my husband.
He loves you already. And he still loves me,
Though my firstborn is not his firstborn.
Amazing! So much love!
His for me. Mine for you.
And God’s love for us all.
This glimpse of the simplicity of that first Christmas morn puts so many things into perspective for me.
What I Really Want
I think this year I’m going to turn down the radio blaring, “Jingle Bell Rock.” I’ll sit in silence by our tree decorated with handmade crafts from Sunday School years gone by. And I will reflect on that first Christmas morn with the lowings and the bleatings. Maybe that what I want most for Christmas—quiet time with Jesus.