by John Armstrong
What do you want for Christmas? Some of you are longing for someone to ask that question of
you. As a boy, I always had a ready answer. In fact, I used to make elaborate lists from my
diligent studies of that ancient marvel that came in the mail called the Sears and Roebuck
Christmas Catalog. J.C. Penny put one out too. I consumed them both and had an easy
familiarity with these most treasured publications. As a man, I don’t miss those three-inch-
thick marketing magazines that filled so many hours of my childhood. Today, I dread people
asking me what I want for Christmas. When people ask that question, they are of course
seeking to find out your material desires so they can get you something, either that or they are
making idle small talk because they can’t think of anything else to say.
When I think back to all the Christmases I can remember, there are a couple of gifts that I
remember receiving, but, by and large, the memories are of happy time spent with family.
Now, as a maturing adult, when I think of what I want for Christmas, it is time with family and
friends that I want for myself. My desires have shifted. No longer am I concerned so much
with what I want for me, but what I want for others. I like to think I can call this maturity, not
being focused on me, but rather being focused on others. There are things I want and those
things are usually what I want for others. Those are usually reflected in my prayers. My desires
for others are things like, growth in grace, a deepening knowledge and hunger for Christ, the
satisfaction of using and growing in the use of spiritual gifts. Those are things that last for
eternity. Those are things worth praying for.
So, let’s do a little thought experiment. What is Christmas? If an alien from outer space were
to land in your backyard and ask you what this Christmas thing is all about, what would you
say? I think an outsider would be hard pressed to get any kind of real understanding of what
Christmas is all about by just observing our society. We celebrate Christmas to commemorate
the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in His incarnation. He came to save us from our sins and
give us life. How would an outsider come to that understanding by just observing? [You might
take a little tangent here to Romans 10:14-17.] When I stop and think of what Christmas is
really all about, I find myself wanting more of Jesus. I want to be more like Him. I want less of
the trappings and trinkets this world has to offer. What can you give me that will not perish,
spoil, or fade? The things of this world can be really nice and I’m not saying you should
appreciate them and enjoy them appropriately. However, the things of this world can also
become idols and let’s face facts, there is a whole lot of idolatry that goes on this time of year.
Understand this, God will not share His glory with another, He will not tolerate our idolatry. So,
let’s bring this home. Santa Claus ain’t coming to town, and truth be told, if he were, there is
nothing he could give me that I can’t live without. All he has to offer are the things of the world
which perish, spoil, and fade. Therefore, my prayer this year and every year is going to be,
Heavenly Father, give me more of Jesus! At Christmas, we celebrate the first coming of Jesus.
Christ has come! Give me more of Christ, it is the one thing I truly need. You need Him too, so
join me in prayer for yourself and for your loved ones and friends that indeed, this year we will
celebrate the coming of Jesus with more of Jesus. Lord make it so for your glory’s sake, we pray
in the strong name of Jesus, Amen.