Christmas Lists Gone Awry

by John Stanton

What's on your list this year?

This time of year it’s hard to avoid an old tradition; the Christmas list. After all, we all want to give others something they want.

The problem is that Christmas lists are rarely based on need. Usually they’re a list of wants. And the problem with a list of wants is that when your focus is on wants, you’re never satisfied.

“If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator; If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist; If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist; If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer; But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior” Unknown Author.

I’d like to challenge you this year to revamp your Christmas list. Focus on needs instead of wants.As you consider what a revamped Christmas list would look like, I suggest that when we have Jesus in our life, our wants become your needs. We have a word for this state of mind… contentment.

Hasn’t Jesus promised to meet our needs? “Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?’ or 'What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” Matthew 6:31–33.

    So, what’s on your Christmas list this year?
  • Spiritual rebirth; a new heart with new desires?
  • Fresh baptism of the Holy Spirit and the new spiritual fruit that results?
  • Forgiveness and cleansing from a specific sin you’re struggling with?
  • Reconciliation in a relationship with a friend or family member?
  • Salvation of someone near and dear to your heart?
    As you’re making lists for others this season, here are ten free or low cost gifts you can give this Christmas, sure to be appreciated.
  1. The gift of listening. People need a listening ear, but really listen – don’t interrupt, no daydreaming, stop planning a response. Just listen! (Acts 13:16)
  2. The gift of affection – Be generous with kisses, hugs, or simply a caring touch. These small actions demonstrate your love and care for someone. (1 Peter 5:14)
  3. The gift of a note – It can be as simple as “I Love You” or as creative as a poem. Place a note where it will surprise your loved ones. (The Epistles)
  4. The gift of laughter – Cut out a cartoon; save a clever article. (Proverbs 17:22)
  5. The gift of a compliment – A simple “You look good in blue” or “wonderful supper” can be a huge lift to those who may feel they are being taken for granted. (Proverbs 27:2)
  6. The gift of a favor – Help with the dishes, run an errand, etc. (1 Corinthians 12:25)
  7. The gift of quiet – There are times in our lives when we want quiet and solitude. Become more sensitive to those times and let things go unsaid when you’re used to speaking up. (1 Peter 3:4)
  8. The gift of a cheerful disposition – Be positive and happy around those you love. (Philippians 4:4)
  9. The gift of a time – Offer to spend time doing what someone else enjoys doing. (Ruth 1:16)
  10. The gift of prayer – Pray for your loved ones; let them know you’re praying for them. (James 5:16)