Christmas: 22 Days and Counting - My Grown-Up Christmas List

Let's be real. Who hasn't walked past the Santa in the mall and just for a split second, thought about standing in line, sitting on his lap and sharing our own Christmas wish list?  (Yes, that's me in the photo below the last time I actually sat on Santa's lap!)

From a child's perspective, Santa is THE guy. He's the ultimate, most recognized gift giver, the most talked about person the day before and after Christmas, and the only one who can get away with wearing a bright red suit with white trim in the middle of the 21st century. He's the epitome of what it means to be jolly. He's the decider of who's good and bad and rewards accordingly. He is most likely the world's largest employer, putting more people to work than anyone on the planet! And somehow gets it all done before December 25th. And the perception is that he will grant your every wish, bring you everything your heart desires, leaving nothing unchecked on your never ending list. Wouldn't that be awesome! 
I mean, think about it, the list we could make: new clothes, shoes, handbags, jewelry, books to read, ipad, ipods, 1000 inch tv, season tickets to our favorite sports teams - all of them, new cars, vacations and airplanes to take us there, a new house, new furniture in every room, hot tub and sauna in the back yard, right next to the in-ground pool, right next to the tennis court, right in the middle of our award winning landscaped yard, etc, etc, etc. The list could go on. But let's say Santa really could give us all this. And he would do so with great pleasure, knowing we would be happy and filled with joy because it was our reward for being nice. Then what? OK, so you have all the stuff. Then what?  What will be on your list next year? What will you do with all the stuff you got this year? In 10 years how much stuff will you have accumulated and where will you put all that stuff? Something tells me, it won't be long until you reach the saturation point. Your life just can't absorb anymore stuff.

I love this song because it transforms the desires of a little child into an adult, but with a twist: My Grown-Up Christmas List.

Do you remember me?
I sat upon your knee
I wrote to you with childhood fantasies
Well, I'm all grown-up now
Can you still help somehow?
I'm not a child, but my heart still can dream

So here's my lifelong wish
My grown-up Christmas list
Not for myself, but for a world in need

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
Every man would have a friend
That right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown-up Christmas list

What is this illusion called the innocence of youth?
Maybe only in that blind belief can we ever find the truth

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal our hearts
Every man would have a friend
That right would always win
And love would never end

This is my grown-up Christmas list
This is my only lifelong wish
This is my grown-up Christmas list

Somewhere along the path of growing up our innocent wishes turn to fantasies, turn to dreams, and then they turn to prayers. Wishes are usually something desired or longed for that we want others to fulfill. Fantasies are playful thoughts in our mind, produced entirely by our imagination and we really don't care if they come true or not. A dream is a strongly desired goal or purpose, usually within our control if we embrace them tight enough to protect them and allow them to evolve into whatever we imagine. But a prayer is a communication with God through either writing, speaking, or meditating, with our most heartfelt, passionate requests about what we feel our life, or the life of others, needs at that moment. Somehow, just knowing that our request are landing on God's heart, what was once a wish, fantasy, or dream, becomes this holy communion with God. 

There's nothing you can ask for, share with or discuss with God that He doesn't already know. And still He wants it to come from you. Psalm 37:4 says "delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart." And John 15:7, (The Message), "if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon." It sounds reasonable then, to be careful what you wish for, doesn't it? 

I like the one verse in the song where the requests turn from the stuff that we could ask for, to asking for what would make life and everything around us much more peaceful. It seems to idealistic at face value. But with all that's going on in the world, just listening to a summary of today's top news, our wish list can easily morph into a prayer list, because the way things are going, it just isn't sustainable. The stories of broken hearts and lives everywhere we turn, the threat of endless fighting among nations, the homeless, poor and children without parents who are often ignored, is enough to make anyone want for something better. For all of us.

Your assignment (and mine): to come up with a grown-up Christmas list. Trying to move past the stuff and really search for something meaningful to wish for yourself and others.

Our Canadian friend with his version of My Grown Up Christmas List: Nicholas Cunha