Dear Santa, here’s my Christmas list. I hope you’ll bring it all. I’ve only asked for gifts my parents Can’t find at the mall.
I’d like to have a UFO, With aliens inside, And maybe a Tyrannosaurus Rex That I could ride.
A ninety-nine foot robot Is a present I could use. I’ll also need a time machine, And rocket-powered shoes.
Please bring a gentle genie Who will grant my every wish, And don’t forget a wizard’s wand, And, yes, a talking fish.
Of course, I’ll need a unicorn, And won’t you please provide A dragon, and a castle In the English countryside.
Of course, the weight of all these things Might cause your sleigh to crash. If that’s the case, dear Santa, Please feel free to just bring cash.
– “Dear Santa, Here’s My Christmas List” by Kenn Nesbitt, from the book Santa Got Stuck in the Chimney
Well you’ve gotta hand it to the kid…he’s not afraid to dream, and dream big! While not every Christmas list is as exhaustive as this one, I reckon about every child can relate to dreaming about just what they’ll find under the tree come Christmas morning. Will they find that toy they hinted about while at the store? Could it be the circled item from the catalog? Maybe it will be something they’ve never seen before, but that Dad and Mom just know they will love. Whether guessed or unguessed, known or unknown, their eyes will light up in gleeful surprise when the present is revealed. A Christmas present is worth more than gold to a child.
As we age into adults (generally speaking), presents become less and less important to us. We no longer spend the weeks leading up to Christmas wondering what we will receive. Gone are the days of writing Christmas lists and the hours of gazing at catalogs with dreamy eyes. While a well thought-out gift is appreciated by an adult, it doesn’t bring the uninhibited delight that it did in childhood. Perhaps some of the appeal is gone once we are self-sufficient enough to buy the things we want with our own money. On a deeper level, perhaps our adulthood shows us that there is more to life than mere things.
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
As a grown woman, the introductory Christmas list doesn’t appeal to me like it might have in my youth. Santa can keep his robots, and genies, and wizard’s wands, and all the rest. Still, there are some things I could use this Christmas season. It’s been a long time since I’ve written down a Christmas list, but this year I’ve decided it’s time to make my wants known! To all family and friends reading this, you can take the guesswork out of shopping for me…I’m publicizing my Christmas list. When it comes down to it, there are really only three things that I just have to have, and they simply aren’t in the budget. So without further ado, all I want for Christmas is…
But now faith, hope, love, abide these three… – 1 Corinthians 13:13a
This Christmas season, the first gift I am requesting is the gift of faith.
I know what you might be thinking: “how can I give you faith? Get your own!” Don’t misunderstand – I have my own faith already. What I want is yours. No gift you could give me would light up my face more than knowing that you have “the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:15b) For those readers who have yet to obey the gospel, my hope is that you will delay no longer to give your allegiance to God. For those readers who have already obeyed the gospel, my hope is that you will fulfill your covenant with Christ to the very end. I want all my readers to have faith.
Why? I want you to have faith for your own good…
I want you to be saved by God. (Ephesians 2:8)
I want you to be a child of God. (Galatians 3:26)
I want you to be justified by God. (Romans 5:1)
I want you to be pleasing to God. (Hebrews 11:6)
I want you to be blessed by God. (Galatians 3:9)
I also want you to have faith for my own good:
…that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine. – Romans 1:12b
This crazy world is in desperate need of faithful, high caliber, men and women. The time to armor up and take faith seriously is now. You need faith, and The Faith needs you. All I want for Christmas is your faith*.
[*Faith, the kind we read about in scripture, is a God-ordained system to which men obediently respond. Saving faith is a compound of one’s belief (Hebrews 11:6); confession (1 John 4:15); repentance (Acts 3:19); and immersion (Acts 22:16). Please reach out to me if you have questions on this subject.]
Now we come to the second item on my wish-list this year. All I want for Christmas is…
But now faith, hope, love, abide these three… – 1 Corinthians 13:13a
This Christmas season, the second gift I am requesting is the gift of hope.
Again, this may sound like a gift that you can’t give me. But I’m not asking for you to give me my hope, I’m asking for you to give me yours. Now, Bible “hope” is a bit different than the “hope” we speak of in common vernacular today. Hope’s meaning has come to be synonymous with words such as “want”, “wish”, and “desire”. (i.e. I want a Lamborghini, I wish I had a million dollars, I desire a happy future) In other words, the modern usage of “hope” is to speak of something indefinite – you long to see a desired result that might happen, but then again it might not. The meaning of hope in the Bible is far more reassuring; it is synonymous with words like “anticipation” and “expectation”…something you are certain is going to happen, and are looking forward to eagerly. Bible hope is more than just a pipe dream, it’s something you can trust in with full confidence. I want all my readers to have hope.
Why? I want you to have hope for your own good…
I want you to be purified. (1 John 3:3)
I want you to be anchored in soul. (Hebrews 6:19)
I want you to be confident. (Psalm 71:5)
I want you to be bold in speech. (2 Corinthians 3:12)
I want you to be joyful and peaceful. (Romans 15:13)
I also want you to have hope for my own good:
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. – Hebrews 10:23-25
We all need to be reminded that our hope (expectation) in God will not disappoint. Our hope that there is more to life than this degenerate place is what makes life worth living. There IS a light at the end of the dark tunnel that is our world…if we continue to run the race that is set before us, we will surely see it . All I want for Christmas is your hope.
Now we come to the third item on my wish-list this year. All I want for Christmas is…
But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love – 1 Corinthians 13:13
This Christmas season, the third and final gift I am requesting is the gift of love.
Love is the most important gift a person can give. It is undeniable that faith and hope are foundational to Christianity, but without the vital addition of love, these heavenly attributes become worthless in our hands. The Apostle Paul goes so far to say that even if we have all faith, and all knowledge, we’re nothing without love. (1 Corinthians 13:2) Our Messiah summed up “the whole Law and the Prophets” (the scriptures) with two straightforward commandments: that we love God and our neighbor. (Matthew 22:36-40) Needless to say, love is paramount. I want all my readers to have love.
Why? I want you to have love for your own good…
I want you to be an abode for God. (1 John 4:12)
I want you to be known as a disciple of Jesus. (John 13:35)
I want you to be fulfilling the law. (Romans 13:10)
I want you to be unified. (Colossians 3:14)
I want you to be edified. (1 Corinthians 18:1)
I also want you to have love for my own good:
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails… – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
Many who claim the name of Christ have their faith and hope down-pat, but to their shame forsake the greatest commandment: to love. Like the pharisees of old, they hold the errant belief that they can freely hurt other people as long as they disguise their ugliness with a cloak of “spirituality”. However, true spirituality is being like God…and God is love. 1 Corinthians 13 leaves no room for the vile treatment of others. I know that the “love” chapter is so commonly used to the point that it seems overused…but have you perfected the art of love? I daresay we all can improve, so read it again and again until love is second nature. Don’t be so quick to discount what Jesus called The Greatest Commandment. All I want for Christmas is love.
Now that I’m an adult, I’ve learned that even the best Christmas presents can’t last forever. Christmas presents can be broken, lost, outgrown, stolen, and the list goes on. Call me selfish, but I’m more interested in gifts that don’t perish with the using. Our theme text (1 Corinthians 13:13) speaks of three gifts that last forever and always into eternity.These three gifts are what I’m after this holiday season. All I want for Christmas is faith, hope, and love. Who’s with me?
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Matthew 6:19-21
For God’s glory, Mrs. Dustin Bolks
Chaste Bolks is a church of Christ preacher’s wife, and the home educating mother of two children. She and her family currently reside in Northwest Iowa.