"When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they 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 and of incense and of myrrh." -- Matthew 2:10-11
With Christmas less than two weeks away, people are beginning to ask me what I want for Christmas. There is no thing I want for Christmas, but there are plenty of wants on my list. For starters, I want to know God more, become more Christlike, and see others come to faith in him. I want to know and apply his Word daily, standing on its promises, walking in victory when life unravels around me, and blazing a trail of faith for others to follow. I want my words to encourage and uplift others, not tear them down.
I want my children to walk with the Lord now, not after they have made the same mistakes I did. I want them to understand that they have a choice not to sin, and that there is great freedom in obeying God. The laws God set in place for us to follow were given to us out of his great love, not a desire to control or manipulate us. I want them to see that God is not the enemy, but that the true enemy, Satan, is real and seeks nothing but their destruction. I want them to be wise in their choices of friends and activities, and I want God to use them as peers of positive influence in a generation that so desperately needs the hope and light of the Lord.
I want to parent my children with grace, not a heavy hand or harsh words. I want to lead them by example, not coercion. As I live out the life God desires for each of us -- a life of holiness and righteousness -- I pray that they will see Christianity as a life of joy and hope, not legalism or hypocrisy.
I want God's blessings to multiply in my life so I can give more generously to others. If we all think outside the box, we will discover that we have much more than money to give. We could volunteer our time and talents to reach those who are lonely, hurting, or in real need of basic provision like food, clothing, and shelter. There is so much need in our world! When I think I need more money or stuff in my own life, I don't have to look far to see that there are those who are truly needy. I want God to give me his eyes to see the need around me and provision to do something about it. If we each learn to hold lightly the blessings God pours into our lives and allow him to control our pocketbooks, perhaps together we can make a positive difference in the lives of those who are truly needy and make this world a better place for them to live.
I want my books to sell and my ministry to grow, not for the sake of producing income but to give me more opportunities to encourage and share God's Word with those who are on this journey of life with me. God certainly doesn't need me or my books to accomplish his purposes, but he desires for all of us to make ourselves available to him and to use our gifts and abilities to bring others into his kingdom. Is there some skill or talent you need to cultivate for his glory?
What about you? What is it that you want most for Christmas? Would you dare to ask God for something more than a new computer, clothes, or cash? God has already given us a precious and unspeakable Gift, his Son. Will you unwrap that gift this year and in return, offer your life as a gift to Jesus?