On coming to the house, the Magi saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Last week, Rick and I stopped at his son’s house. The three kids (6, 3 and 2) were at the kitchen table making Christmas lists to send to Santa. Since the 3- and 2-year-olds can’t write, they were drawing pictures. I asked Ellie what her pictures were. She stared at me as if I should know what her little scribble marks were. Waylan’s list was well printed. I questioned him about something on the list. He told me what store it was at and how much it cost! How is that for helping Grandma with Christmas shopping!
I remember sitting down with the big, fat Sears & Roebuck catalog and writing on a piece of paper what I wanted for Christmas. My parents could not afford much. So I only put the most important things on the list. Contrast this to our precious Ellie. When they received the American Girl catalog, Ellie’s mom encouraged her to circle the things she liked. Ellie complied. Later, she asked for the catalog back because she hadn’t circled everything.
It has been decades since I’ve made a Christmas list. Rick and I do not exchange presents. We have no needs. We buy things for kids who really have needs. Our gifts include practical items. But we also buy fun things like sleds and dolls.
I’ve been thinking about what I really want for Christmas. Here is my grown-up Christmas list. These things cannot be circled in a catalog but are things Christians should live daily:
- Thinking of others more than we think of ourselves and living this in our actions.
- Admitting when we are wrong and asking for forgiveness.
- Splattering our daily words with “Thank you,” “I love you,” “I forgive you,” “Forgive me” and “Please.”
- Biting our tongues so we listen more than we speak.
- Telling the whole truth.
- Respecting those whose views or opinions may be different than ours.
- Humbleness in our actions so attention goes to Jesus, the Light of the World.
- Expecting less and giving more.
- Appreciating each sunrise and sunset, knowing every day is simply a present.
I stopped to buy Waylan’s present today. He called it a cow stanchion. I asked the sales clerk about the stanchions they had. He pointed out a blue cow chute. The price tag was the same amount Waylan had told me. The sales clerk asked if a special boy was getting the cow chute. I said yes.
Rick and I are fortunate we can buy presents for our grandkids. My prayer this Advent, is that I will spend more time embodying and living out the things on my grown-up Christmas list. These are the most important things I can pass onto our grandchildren.
Lord, God, when we think of the gifts the magi brought to baby Jesus, they almost do not make sense. We’d expect a fuzzy blanket or a seat for Joseph to strap to a donkey for baby Jesus to ride in. But Lord God, the presents you desire from us are never exactly what we would put first on our list. This Advent, place in our hearts meaningful grown-up Christmas lists that embody the type of giving you so desire from us. Amen.
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