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All I Want for Christmas is _____?

December 23, 2019

Years ago, David and Elizabeth Heller wrote a book entitled, The Best Christmas Presents Are Wrapped in Heaven: Children on Christmas. They asked children some great questions about Christmas that we all can glean from. Here are some of their questions and the children’s responses.

What makes Christmas so special?
Stacy (age 8): “Everything sparkles at Christmas...especially the people.”
Johnny (age 7): “I like how the three kings brought presents, and that gave Santa Claus the big idea.”
Marie (age 8): “Christmas (is special because) it makes everyone have a bigger heart.”
Carey (age 7): “It gives you a chance to think about other people for a change.”
Sylvia (age 10): “Christmas is special because it’s the season to be a child at heart.”

Why is Christmas good for families?
Lem (age 10): “It shows you that you can be a happy family even if you live in a manger.”
Gaye (age 9): “Christmas is the one day you can wake everybody up and get away with it.”
Brandi (age 10): “Christmas makes families say "God Bless You" even when nobody sneezes.”

What does the Christmas carol Silent Night mean?
Gaye (age 9): “It’s supposed to be a quiet night because back there in the Holy Land, Jesus needed his sleep, to get ready to do all those miracles.”
Matthew (age 9): “When you see somebody special being born, you just get kind of amazed and quiet.”
What is the real message of Christmas?
Henry (age 9): “The message is that wonderful things can happen here on earth too – but most of it starts higher up.”

What is the surest sign that Christmas is coming?”
Sylvia (age 10): “The biggest sign is one that we can’t see. God is busier than before. He’s working on what people really need for presents, (because, you see) all the best Christmas presents are wrapped in heaven.”

Those are great questions and profound answers. But I would imagine the most frequently asked question during Christmas time is, “What do you want for Christmas?” Assuming it’s not your ‘two front teeth’ or ‘a Hippopotamus’ or ‘a 54 Convertible too, light blue,’ what we want for Christmas or what others want for Christmas is the main topic of conversation.

Consider this Christmas story about a little girl from France. She was asked, “What would you like for Christmas?” It’s in a book entitled Christmas Gifts That Always Fit, by James W. Moore.

During World War II, four young American soldiers, who had been in battle for some time were sent back from the front lines to a small French village for a little rest and relaxation. When they arrived in the village, they suddenly realized that it was Christmas Eve and began to discuss how they would spend Christmas.

One of the soldiers said, “You know, as we were coming into town earlier today, I noticed an orphanage on the outskirts of the village. Let’s go there in the morning and take some Christmas joy to those children.”

The more the soldiers talked about it, the more excited they became. So, they went out and bought toys and candy and games. Early the next morning, they showed up at the front door of the orphanage with Christmas presents for all the children. All the children were delighted as they opened their gifts – all the children, that is, except one little girl, who stood quietly off to the side. She appeared to be five or six years old, looking very sad.

One of the soldiers noticed that the little girl was not participating and asked the orphanage director about her. “Oh, bless her heart,” said the director. “We just got her last week. Both of her parents were killed in a car wreck. There was no one to take her in, so we brought her here.”

The soldier went over to the little girl and gently said, “It’s Christmas morning, and we have Christmas presents here – toys, clothes, candy, food, books, puzzles. Which would you like? What do you want for Christmas?” The little girl said, “I want somebody to hold me.”

Her response attracts us, shocks us, or maybe even repels us. Her response is raw and authentic, signaling a need and a reality much deeper and more real than ‘a 54 convertible too, light blue.’ Her response challenges us to respond. Her request takes us to places in our inner spaces where God lives.

What if the little girl said to you, “I want somebody to hold me.” What would you do? I think most all of us would have held and hugged her, don’t you? She was deeply hurt and in shock, in a war, her parents killed, in an orphanage with strangers, with soldiers speaking a funny language to her. Someone just like you, hugging and holding that little girl, could be the ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ for the rest of her life.

Isn’t this what God does on Christmas Day? Maybe the best Christmas gift of all is not giving us ‘little tin horns and little toy drums’ but with arms held wide open, giving His own Son to hold us and heal us, the physician for our innermost well-being.

Maybe you know someone in shock like that little girl who needs more than ‘Rooty toot toots and rummy tum tums.’ Maybe what they need is a brief time to be held, hugged, assured, cared for, and listened too, by you. Maybe, all they want for Christmas is you!

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Ed Delph is a leader in church-community connections.
Visit Ed Delph's website at www.nationstrategy.com