The other day as I was driving home from work, I heard a Christmas song that brought memories flooding back: “Grown-Up Christmas List.” When I was little, I first heard Amy Grant’s version of this song, and it is the one that plays over and over in my mind as I think back on years of meaningful Christmases. Sort of like a mental scrapbook, I can reflect on my mindset over the years of hearing this song and see how my views of Christmas wishes have changed. Consider the lyrics:
"Do you remember me?
I sat upon your knee.
I wrote to you with childhood fantasies.
Well, I'm all grown up now,
But still need help somehow.
I'm not a child but my heart still can dream.”
What were your dreams and wishes as a child at Christmas? Toys and games, cookies and treats? It’s fascinating to think of the change in priorities over the years. I’m all grown up, but I still have wishes and dreams – they’ve just transformed as I’ve learned more about the world, myself, and my faith.
“As children we believed
The grandest sight to see
Was something lovely wrapped beneath the tree.
Well, heaven surely knows
That packages and bows
Can never heal a hurting human soul.”
There is a special sense of nostalgia when I remember early Christmases with my parents and sister – the excitement of the presents under the tree and the anticipation of opening those gifts on Christmas morning. Then, my views of Christmas started to change as I realized the deep needs of so many people. I’ve had the joy of participating in Operation Christmas Child and preparing packages of essentials and gifts for needy children. It has been an honor to serve in local soup kitchens, serving the sweet, grateful people who hunger not only for food but love and respect. Time and attention mean more to these people than packages and bows.
“No more lives torn apart,
And wars would never start,
And time would heal all hearts.
Ev'ry one would have a friend,
That right would always win,
And love would never end:
This is my grown-up Christmas list.”
This expressive chorus brings to mind families who face a recent divorce or death or the absence of a family member who has so bravely joined the military to defend our freedoms. What a wonderful wish – for everyone to have a friend (and might I add, that those of us who have been blessed with a special few would not take them for granted). The fact that right does not always win today makes me long for the time when it will. What a beautiful day that will be. And praise God that we do have a Love that will never end. Perhaps our prayer this Christmas should be that we reflect His love to those around us more clearly.
My grown-up Christmas list is much different than my childhood one, but it brings the same sense of anticipation and a big smile to my face.