For the last few years now, I have used my December blog space to consider what I want for Christmas. And every year, I start off with the same problem: why would I ask for anything when I have so much? It feels oddly uncomfortable to say I want this or I want that for Christmas.
This year — being like no other year– gives me pause to ask the question in a different way. What might God want for Christmas? (hint: its not gold, frankincense or myrrh).
First, I think God would want more patience with the pandemic. It’s been a long weary year and most of us are tired of having to wear a mask and distance socially, agitated at times for not be able to do the normal things of human life (like hugs). Especially over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Will we remember how to hug again? I think so, it’s a natural thing, a normal thing, and all we will need do is practice. God knows that this pandemic will end. We will return to something like what used to be normal. We just don’t know when. So maybe God might want patience for us and with us as we bear down now into a new phase of isolation over the holidays and winter’s cold nights.
Second, I think God would want more money. More money to pass around to shop owners, restauranteurs, grocery clerks, delivery people, those whose livelihoods have been so deeply wounded by the economic catastrophe of the pandemic. So, I pray that Congress will get its act together and do what needs to be done. Help people who continue to hurt. If God had the money, I know it would be given to the right people.
Third, I think that what God wants for Christmas is a large heaping helping of memory. Memory of times when family was fun, when snow days were real days off, when we reached into our past and find something joyful to tell a story about or just smile over. Remember that? Memory is a healing balm on our souls that helps to smooth over and bring to wholeness the wounded places, the absent friends, the lost loved ones. So, in God’s honor this year, I invite you to tell more stories, tell them like they happened yesterday. Memories are the best way to lift the blues, the sadness and the weariness of our times. If revenge is a dish best served cold, then memories are a dish best served warm and plentiful. Don’t just think of your good times alone, tell someone else a story from your childhood. Or better yet, your adolescence, those are the really funny stories.
Most of all, I think what God wants for Christmas is to be God, to be in charge of the universe and of course, God is! We are not in charge. I certainly am not in charge. We are doing our best to let God be God and God is only asking us to remember better times when we laughed more, sat closer together on the couch, shared food from the same place. God is asking us to be patient, to share what we have with others. To take care of each other as best we can.