All I want for Christmas...
As we all, perhaps, review our Christmas lists, Jane Clamp urges us to be clear on what we ask from Jesus.
I remember vividly the first time I encountered Psalm 23. I was in Junior School, probably around nine years of age, joining in the recitation with the rest of the pupils, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want...” Most of the words passed over my head, leaving only the two confusing thoughts at the outset: “Shepherd?” and, “Hang on a minute, there’s loads of stuff I want!”
At this time of year, we say and hear over and over again: “What do you want for Christmas?” These days it’s not such an easy one for me to answer, actually. I’m not very materialistic and, anyway, my house already seems full. So, the answer is usually, “I don’t know.” (But secretly I’d just love more time, if anyone could find a stockist..!)
Not knowing what I would like or, at least, not being clear about it, can cause problems. Without a specific wish-list, I am subject to the arbitrary choices of others. Sometimes this has unexpected pleasure: a Kindle one year, for example, when they were so new I’d barely heard of one. Other times not: repeated gifts of Liquorice Allsorts when, surely, they should know I LOVE chocolate. I guess a worse danger is not receiving anything at all.
In the Bible, there is one classic case of Jesus asking “What do you want?” At first glance, it seems ridiculous. In front of Him is a blind man, Bartimaeus. Unable to support himself or his family and finding himself unable to claim disability benefit, he spends his days begging. He comes face to face with Jesus, a man universally acclaimed to be wise as well as good. Yet, Jesus asks the man, “What do you want me to do for you?” Not surprisingly, Bart says, “I want to see.” I imagine a touch of irony in his tone. But, whether said sarcastically or as a heartfelt cry for help, the result is simple: Jesus heals him.
We all have things we want more than anything in the world. Most lists would include a fulfilling job, a network of supportive friends and family, a special relationship, a safe home. Other things might be so precious that we dare not even admit we long for them. Whatever the case, I believe that Jesus stands in front of us and asks the question.
Perhaps the bigger question is this: what will be your reply?
Jane Clamp is Creative Writer in Residence on the Sunday Breakfast Show at BBC Radio Norfolk and on the Thought of the Day team at Premier Christian Radio. An active member of the Association of Christian Writers, she is editing a second novel, and in her spare time works as an interior designer and musician.
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