God richly blessed me this Thanksgiving by allowing me to get a cold in the nick of time to graciously opt out of the feast at my in-laws. I told Cindy I was likely contagious and I did not want to get everyone and their children sick. I’m just that kinda guy, always thinking of others. Oh don’t get me wrong, my in-laws are wonderful people. I’m just not a social type. And the cold allowed me to endure Thanksgiving on my own terms: fading in and out of consciousness on the couch watching football while high on cold medication. It was glorious.
In any case, I got to thinking about gifts for Christmas while “languishing” on the couch. What should I get for my long-suffering wife, my adult children, our ill-mannered dogs, the geriatric cat, and, most importantly, my grandson? While thinking about these things it dawned on me that there is nothing I want for Christmas. This might be a first. In years gone by I have always had my eye on a new tool, or fishing rod, or shotgun, or camping gear. This year there is literally nothing I want. I’ve been praying for a season of wantlessness (yes I just made up that word). Apparently the Lord has answered my prayer, or I finally got tired of accumulating junk that goes unused only to eventually be thrown out as fodder for the county landfill.
I assumed it would feel good to want nothing for Christmas, but I find that I have an uneasy feeling where that feeling of want once resided. Perhaps this is due to living all my life in a culture that incessantly encourages us to want more possessions and experiences. Or maybe the hole left by want makes me ill at ease because want had become a part of my very identity. The reality is that our entire economic model in America is based on a growing population constantly in a state of want. I hope I don’t get culled from the herd for failing to do my part this Christmas season. Yet all my life in the church I’ve heard it said that we should let Jesus fill all our wants and needs, which always sounded like an empty catch phrase to me. But now that want has abandoned me, I find myself leaning more towards Christ and what he has to say about life. I would be lying if I said Christ has filled ALL the real estate formerly occupied by want. The truth is I feel (despite being an uber-introvert) a growing inclination to get closer to family and friends, as well as Christ. People are becoming a higher priority; and that part feels good.
In Psalms 23 we read “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” These nine words take on a whole new meaning and significance when want fades from being a motivation in life. Just wish I’d got here a few decades back. So in the spirit of the real meaning of Christmas: I encourage you to get out there in the malls, shops, and on Amazon and want nothing . . . but Christ. It may be your best Christmas ever.