As any kid who’s gotten exactly what they wanted for Christmas can tell you – Christmas is about fulfillment.
Do you remember when you got the best present ever?
I was 12 or 13 when I got mine. My first real guitar amplifier. It was awesome. A Peavey Bandit. It had two channels, reverb, parametric equalization, a footswitch, and no less than one-hundred-and-thirty-five watts of ear-splitting, heavy metal power.
I could hit a power chord on my electric guitar, and with that amp cranked up just half-way – I could blow your house down!
And I loved it.
When I unwrapped it and plugged that baby in, I wasn’t just pleased. Or happy. Or content.
I was fulfilled.
But I was easier to please back then.
All it took then was getting exactly what I asked my dad for every day for three months.
Now I’m not so sure what I’m getting for Christmas, and I never even know what to ask for. And it seems like every year I’m conflicted as to how to feel in these days leading up to Christmas. Am I supposed to be excited about Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? Is it the pageant tonight or the services next week that’s most special?
It’s really fun — now that I have a job — to buy cool presents for other people. And having our first christmas tree in our first house last year was totally awesome. But these days, it seems Christmas just isn’t the same, and it certainly isn’t as simple, as being a 12-year-old with a big box under the tree. Is it?
The thing about growing up, I guess, is that the Christmas focus becomes less about “What’s under the tree,” and more about “Who’s around the tree.” The heart no longer asks, “What’d you get?” Rather it asks, “who am I with?”
And this new focus makes Christmas a lot harder than it used to be, especially when you remember all the people who aren’t around – either because they’ve died; or left; or haven’t yet been introduced.
Yeah, Christmas gets harder when you get older, because even though presents are nice, the kind of fulfillment we all want Christmas to be about, just isn’t always there for us.
The people we want aren’t always there,
the life we want isn’t always there,
and the people we want to be, just isn’t always there.
Maybe you know what I mean?
When I was a kid all I ever wanted for Christmas were things like legos, guitars, gadgets, and video games. And even though I also got a bunch of darned sweaters and books, I made out pretty well on my wish list. And when I got older, all I ever wanted for Christmas was cash, cool clothes, and a fun party to go to.
Yeah, now that I’m a grown-up, I don’t know what I want for Christmas anymore, . . . . . . . except to be fulfilled.
What about you? And that fulfillment which I’d say we all have on our wish list, just doesn’t come that easy does it?
But I believe that God knows.
God knows that this World of pain and sorrow cannot bring the fulfillment that you and I want or need to become whole.
God knows that you and I don’t want much for Christmas this year, except the approval of our families and friends; the recognition of our colleagues at work, the kindness of our neighbors where we live and pray, and the gentle warmth of persons to share our lives with.
God knows that all we really want for Christmas this year is to be loved and to find our place.
And this is why God came to be one of us. God came to be one of us, so that we would know for sure that God is real, and our hope is too. God came to be a promise for us – in flesh and blood – that we will be fulfilled one day. And if we believe in that now, we will begin to see every Christmas, and every day, a little more clearly. We will begin to see the mystery of everyday life, and hear the music of a world ringing with angel’s songs.
God came to be one of us so that the things which are real in the nature of God, can also be real in the nature of Mankind. Jesus came to take on our life, so that we might be taken up into the life of God.
Christmas ain’t about a guitar amplifier or even a kitchen full of fruit-cake. But if you have these things in your house this year, or a tree, or a gift, or a wreath, or a stocking, or a shiny new bicycle, or a delicious piece of cake, let them not be for you anything less, or anything more, than the symbol and reminder you make for one another that one day you will be fulfilled beyond your wildest Christmas wish list.
And all it takes to get on that road to another life, is to open your heart, and kindle the lights of your eyes with love to see that Christmas is the day when God came to be one of us, and to set us free forever. Amen.