“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?”
–Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
Christmas is just around the corner and frantic holiday shopping has begun. When I was a tad bit younger, every December, my parents would ask me and my siblings what we wanted for Christmas. As a kid, Christmas really seemed to be the most wonderful time of the year. Or so the song goes. And at the time, most of my requests for gifts revolved around the buying of stuff. I almost always got something that I really wanted for Christmas. A cool toy. A new gadget. That sort of thing. As I grew older, I found that my desire for more stuff did not decrease. Instead, it increased. In fact, I began to crave for bigger toys and better gadgets.
For a good part of this year, I've been on a journey towards simplicity. And a crucial part of that journey has been the slow and systematic removal of desires for material things. Although I still wrestle with it from time to time, I can safely say that I don’t desire material stuff the way I used to. And that’s because material things don’t bring me the kind of joy, happiness, and fulfillment that I’m looking for anymore. They simply don’t satisfy me the way they used to. My personal desires have begun to shift.
From the earthly to the heavenly.
From the temporal to the eternal.
From the humanly to the godly.
To be clear, this is not to say that I believe that material things are evil. I still wear clothes (thank goodness). I drive a car. I’m typing away on a laptop. I do have material needs and I value their contribution to making my life easier. But material things simply don’t give me the kind of joy, happiness, and fulfillment that I seek. My satisfaction in life is now found elsewhere.
So what do I really want for Christmas? World peace. Duh. But since I can’t have that just yet, I’ll have to settle for something else.
I want to see people follow Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
I want to participate in advancing God’s kingdom.
I want to serve the way Jesus served—sacrificially.
I want join Christ in building His church.
I want to love my neighbor as much as myself.
This is what I really want for Christmas. And what I want no longer revolves around the acquisition of material possessions. They now revolve around kingdom things—the kind of stuff that greatly matter to God. And because they matter to God, they greatly matter to me as well. By doing God’s will, that’s where I really find joy, happiness, and fulfillment.
So what do you really want for Christmas?