The Ideal Christmas List
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Preparation for Christmas seems to be a time of list making. We prepare lists of what we want to give to others and of course we have our list of what we would love to receive. Today I have a suggestion for something we should all want to have on our Christmas list. Please read more…..
List making is evidenced in the Christmas jingle, Jolly Old St. Nicholas, which contains these lyrics: “Johnny wants a pair of skates, Suzie wants a sled, Nellie wants a picture book yellow, blue, and red. Now I think I’ll leave to you what to give the rest, choose for me Dear Santa Claus, what you think is best.”
The world has come to see these weeks leading up to Christmas as a time of list making, crowded malls, online deals and endless shopping. As Christians we know this time of year as Advent. In 2012, I wrote about Advent as a time to reflect back and to look forward in my message O Come, O Come Emmanuel. In 2015, I penned the letter Not Firing On All Cylinders in which I discussed the importance of performing a maintenance check on our spiritual life during Advent. Last year, I reflected on using Advent as a time to evaluate the Seductive Voices that had led us astray during the year and make corrective plans to return home for Christmas.
Yes indeed, Advent is that time when we should not only reflect back on that first Christmas day when the Christ child was born, but we should also look forward with hope and anticipation for the triumphant second coming of Jesus. Knowing that we in fact would all benefit from some spiritual maintenance and knowing that we don’t always stay on the correct path, I decided to suggest a special Christmas wish list that we could each add to our prayer life during this Advent Season.
Most of us, in fact, I think it is safe to say all of us, have fallen to one or more of these sins during this past year: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy or pride. In order to combat these deadly sins, what we are in need of, is the gift of the seven virtues.
On the first Christmas morning God became man. In His public ministry Jesus challenged the people to become more like God. We were made in God’s image; therefore, we should seek to live in a manner pleasing to God. By adding this list of virtues to our Christmas list we are prayerfully asking God to give us the firm and habitual disposition to do what is good and right. What better prayer request could we add to our Christmas list than to ask God to strengthen and empower us, so that as we prepare to go forth in the Christmas Season and in the New Year ahead, than to ask Him to please make us more virtuous people?
Recent news reports have been filled with stories of people whose actions have hurt others, hurt their families and hurt themselves. Their sins were made public. Thank goodness most of us have not had to withstand the public scrutiny of having our sins made known to all. Nonetheless, I am convinced that we would all benefit going forward with a renewed commitment to virtuous living. I invite you to join me during this Advent Season by praying this prayer every day.
Click here for a printable copy of the above chart which contains the following prayer.
Most Heavenly Father, I prayerfully present this list to you as my Christmas wish list for 2017. Lord, please strengthen me in my resolve to live a more virtuous life, one that is pleasing to you, and help me to avoid and overcome those sins which are negatively correlated to each virtue. I bring my prayer to you during this Advent season in the name of The Christ Child, Emmanuel. Amen.
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[…] week, a 4th Day Letter reader named Bob posted a reply on my website and in his remarks he mentioned a song SHOW ME THE WAY by the music group Styx. I was […]
Thank you again for another compelling 4th Day Letter!
It’s good to read the list of virtues and their opposing sins spelled out for us, to remind us of how we should be all year long and certainly in advent.
The world seems to love to push the ugliness into the spotlight. Of course, that is necessary in order to combat it, assuming we don’t come to tolerate or accept it.
Still, it can be disheartening to see both the commercialism of the season and the ugliness of the news consuming our attention.
In combatting commercialism I’m reminded of Linus explaining the true meaning of Christmas to a depressed Charlie Brown in the perennial Christmas special.
When facing the ugliness of the world and individuals who’ve fallen into scandal, I am reminded of a song by Styx called “Show Me the Way” https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/styx/showmetheway.html. It seems to directly speak to what we are all going through now, and to what we all need.
We need to watch and listen for His voice in this world – His calling us to action to make changes in our lives, in our families, in our communities, and in our world -helping where we can. The Kingdom of God is at hand in as much we keep our hearts open to His presence and are willing to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this world – until He comes again.
Thank you, Brian, for being His hands and feet!
Thank you for taking the time to put together this thoughtful post. I am clicking on the song right now to listen to it. May God bless you, especially during this Advent Season.