Decorated trees are sprouting in living rooms around the country, carols are playing in the mall, and shoppers eagerly await packages from Amazon. It’s that time of year again—time for my birthday. As usual, we’re so busy with seasonal activities—Christmas parties, the Audubon Christmas Bird Count, more parties—that I barely have time to celebrate. That’s all right. In December, I prefer to focus on Someone else’s birthday.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, I tend to ignore New Year’s Eve and the start of the calendar year. It seems so arbitrary. Instead, I use my birthday as a time to mull over the year past and the year to come. What did God tell me to do last year? Did I do it? And what about the year to come? Is He directing me in any particular direction?
What do you want for Christmas? As small children sitting on Santa’s lap, we quickly learned to rattle off a long list of our desires—mostly things we’ve seen in ads on TV. Now that we’re older, we still have our lists, posted online at the request of family members trying to assemble a Christmas shopping list.
As the primary gift shopper in our household, I was scanning these lists when the thought occurred to me… what does Jesus want for Christmas? After all, it’s his birthday!
I was reminded of a passage I read recently—found in both Matthew 16:23 and Mark 8:33—where Jesus tells Peter “Get behind me, Satan! … You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” I wondered, what are the concerns of God? What could He, the owner of the cattle on a thousand hills (not to mention the rest of creation) possibly lack? Or, if you’re not the practical gift type, what could we give Him to make Him happier?