I love the Christmas season.
I love the holiday bustle, the purpose in every shopper’s step. Guys, I even love mall traffic. I obviously love the food, the indulgence of eating well and without worry. I love the Christmas cards that all end up on our mantle, how I get to see a friend’s kids growing over the year. I love the gift-giving, the moment I’ve realized I’ve just bought the most perfect gift for someone. I love the memories of Christmases stretched behind us surfacing when we pull out our box of ornaments.
I love most things about this time of year, except for one.
I do not love The Question.
“What do you want for Christmas?”
Oh, how I dread The Question.
I don’t like asking it, because I want to gift you something perfect and thoughtful and unexpected. (Instead, I will ask everyone around you what you want for Christmas. And no, I don’t think of it as cheating.)
But I really hate being asked it. Really, really.
And I really (really) try to hedge my way around it. In fact, I actively avoid it. I hem and haw until I can back slowly away. (I have been known to actually run from the room once or twice, and accidentally on purpose hang up on my mother. UGH, CELL RECEPTION, AM I RIGHT?)
And if I can’t get out of answering The Question, I pick something ridiculously practical, like spatulas. (I mean, I accidentally melt them on somewhere around a weekly basis. I can never have too many spatulas.)
So, yes. I hate The Question. (And in my mind I hear my daughter saying, “We don’t say HATE.” She’s basically a parrot.)
The thing is, there are a lot of things I want. And most of them are things that are shiny and new. Those things promise me life will be easier, faster, better, more enjoyable if I have them.
And then there are things a little further down my list, things that remind me how absurdly blessed I am. Things like the health and wholeness of my family, the warmth and comfort I don’t have to do without, the well-loved place I have in my community, my church, my corner of the world. Things that remind me just how much I take in vain.
But what doesn’t often make my list is the thing I should want the very most.
The healing of the whole world.
I forget God doesn’t need me to defend His Word to a frankly uninterested world (even if I think I’m SO GOOD with the words), or to make sanitized statements about what separated us from His irrational love in the first place. I forget God doesn’t need me much at all, but He built me for relationship, with Him and more notably with the rest of His beloved creation, and He delights in my participation (those fickle times when I am eager enough to want to). I forget God wants the whole world healed toward wholeness, toward Him, and I am uniquely qualified to help.
I forget I bear good news, timeless news, so much bigger and deeper than a story or a carol, news that won’t just mean something in the distant future and doesn’t come from a faraway past. I forget this is the good news, the answer to every question, even the ones I don’t like to ask. I forget God wants me to spread His joy over us, His interest in this broken world, His purpose and plan to usher us all closer to the fullness He forever intended.
I forget the Advent season is a way to remember and rejoice that God came in after us, and the thing He most wants from me is to share in His healing of the world around me.
The thing I should most want for Christmas is to remember that.