It’s that time of year. We are making lists and checking them twice. I made a list of books I’d like for Christmas for Megan. I’ll find out on Christmas day which books from that list she chose for me. But I made that list.
Megan and I have talked a lot over the years about how we might “do” Christmas with our own child. We are sensitive to the fact that Christmas can and does easily become about getting. And no matter how many times we watch A Charlie Brown Christmas, we know that it is easier to say, “Giving is better than getting,” than it is to actually do that.
I’m reminded of a high school student who decided one year at Christmas that he did not want any presents from his parents. Instead, they bought socks with that money, went to downtown Richmond and handed those socks out to the homeless.
And it reminds me of the mom who organized other moms to clean out their children’s toys before Christmas. These toys were given to a church that is in ministry with a trailer park community with children and families living well below the poverty line. These gently used toys went to families whose Christmases were light on the jolly.
One of the things that Megan and I hope to do is to create a tradition where part of our child’s Christmas present is to do a project for a charity or mission of their choosing. And not just the “let’s give money to something” (though we do that, and value that), but more than that. Let’s give out socks or let’s buy a gift for the Angel Tree. Christmas, after all, is not about our wish lists. Christmas is about God’s wish list.
And what is on God’s wish list?
You and I are for starters.
But perhaps Jesus has something like feeding the hungry and the thirsty; welcoming the stranger; giving clothes to the naked, and visiting the sick and imprisoned (Matthew 25). This is the Kingdom of God kind of stuff. The kind of stuff that you and I can do.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, is often called theotokos. In Greek, this means God-bearer, because she quite literally bore God. God’s wish list beckons and calls to us to be God-bearers in our time to be about Kingdom work.