When I was younger I always put together a Christmas wish list of the things I hoped to get for Christmas. Typically the list involved action figures, a new movie, possibly a stuffed animal, or a video game. I always avoided clothes on my list because I knew I would get those anyway and I didn’t want to encourage the habit. Now that I’m older, my Christmas list is practical things. For instance, this year I need/want a new pair of running shoes, a pair of casual shoes, and a couple of shirts I can wear to work. It’s all things I need anyway and the holiday just serves as an excuse to get them.
I was thinking however, that part of Christmas (the major part of Christmas) is anticipating the Christ child, and the recognition and remembrance that the Christ child brings hope to the world. A new reality has dawned with the birth of Christ. God has begun the process of making all things new. Since I believe this truth, that God is making all things new, and the new reality is closer than it appears, I’ve decided this year to have a richer Christmas list.
My Christmas Wish List:
I wish for peace throughout the world. I wish for peace between countries at war. I wish for peace between Israel and the Palestinian State. I wish for peace in Syria. I wish for peace in Afghanistan. I wish for peace in all the places in the world that are at war but my American media doesn’t tell me about, and I don’t take the time to research. I wish for the weapons to be laid down; that this would be the year when they beat the swords into plowshares. I wish for peace within families. That spouses and children would stop fighting. That no more families would be torn apart through divorce or abuse. I wish for peace between cultures and races. I wish for peace between those with light skin and dark skin. I wish for peace in our neighborhoods, where gangs are shooting guns back and forth. I wish for peace in our churches; that we would quit arguing about matters of theology and unite around the Lordship of Jesus. I believe that the Christ child brings hope to the world, and that the angels really did proclaim peace on earth. I hope for that peace to be a reality in 2016.
I wish that the sex-slave trade would end. I wish that this would be the year when all of the women and girls who have been enslaved would be set free. I wish that this would be the year when no more little girls would be stolen from their families and forced into committing atrocious acts of evil. I wish that our culture would change so that females were not viewed as objects to fulfill some male fantasy, but instead treated as image bearers of God. I wish that our little girls would be protected from being viewed by how they look instead of their intelligence or personality. I believe that in the new creation sexual exploitation will end, and I pray for that reality even now in the coming year of 2016.
I wish that all children would have a safe place to live, with plenty of food to eat. I wish that there would be no children fleeing their homeland as refugees or foreigners trying to find safety in some foreign land. I wish all countries would open their doors to children in need and quit trying to keep them out or deport them to less desirable places. I wish that in our own cities there would be no orphaned children, no homeless children, no hungry children. I wish that all children would be loved and not forced to grow up too soon trying to take care of themselves because the adults in their lives have forced them into difficult situations. I wish that children wouldn’t be forced to choose between one parent or another because those parents can’t get along. I wish that as a society we completely protected children because they are not mature enough, or have the ability, to protect themselves. I believe that Jesus welcomes all children into his arms, and I pray that this would be the year when all children through out the world are safe and loved.
Finally, I wish that I would live fully into the new creation. I wish that I could put my old life of sin behind and live a resurrected life in Christ. I wish, through God’s grace, that I might fully embrace Kingdom living this year; fully participating in God’s plan to redeem and restore what was lost. I wish for the new creation to come, even now. I pray for this to be the year when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.
This is my Christmas list. Because I believe in the new hope that comes through the birth of the Christ child I believe this reality is possible even now. Please God, make it real.