' Tis the season to want. A gift certificate for a massage. New dishes. Perfume. A new coat. Peace on earth?or at least in my house.
What do you want for Christmas?
Perhaps the most poignant Christmas wanting I ever experienced occurred 14 years ago when Evan and I waited for a baby through adoption. We'd been approved the prior spring, and I resigned my job to wait for the "any minute" call that would make me a mother.
Spring turned to summer. Summer fell into fall. Fall rounded into winter. And Christmas came with no baby. Can you imagine being dilated to 9.5 for 10 months?!
I'll be honest: I was ticked at God. The longer I didn't have the baby I wanted, the more I didn't want the God I had.
Jesus devoted more than a few words to the subject of our desires and God's delivery. In Matthew 6:33 he says, "Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
I'm usually more interested in my kingdom and my righteousness. During the days of waiting for a baby, God began to deal with me. I didn't want his kingdom at all. I wanted mine. And I wanted it now.
One afternoon, I was reading through C. S. Lewis's journal, written in fresh grief after the death of his wife. He concluded this about God: "He can't be used as a road. If you're approaching him not as a goal, but as a road, not as an end but as a means, you're not really approaching him at all" (A Grief Observed).
Lewis made me think. Was I interested in God only as the road to my baby? Or was my goal God? In my desire for a child, where had I put my desire for God?
I've come to see that there is a difference between seeking my kingdom and my righteousness and seeking God's. It's like seeking only his hands and not his heart. If we're seeking his hands, we're longing for what he can do for us. But if we're seeking God's heart, we're searching for who he is and what he is doing in and around us.
It was a gradual realization, one that came long after Christmas?when I still didn't have my baby.
On Easter Sunday the next year, I stood in church singing "Jesus Christ is risen today! Alleluia!" with the news that my baby girl would be in my arms the following day. I knew the truth: "Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
What do you want for Christmas this year? Your kingdom and righteousness or God's?
Elisa Morgan, M.Div., is president of mops (Mothers of Preschoolers) International. For information about a mops group in your area, call 800-929-1287.
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