It's not a simple question to answer. Not just because as an adult our desires and dreams either become embarrassingly mundane or vastly unrealistic. A new door mat or a secret private hide away on a Caribbean island! But because there is the feeling that you need to answer with some appropriately modest and yet meaningful gift.
I love the story of the British Ambassador to Washington (almost certainly fictitious - but that has never stopped a preacher like me using a good yarn!)...
"The British ambassador in Washington was phoned by a reporter for the New York Times and asked what was on his Christmas list. Being a fairly modest kind of man he commented that he would be quite happy with a box of his favourite sweets. It was only later in the week that to his horror he read the following article:
A number of leading diplomatic figures were asked what they hoped for this Christmas:
The Russian ambassador said he hoped for peace on earth, with a reduction in nuclear weapons. The German ambassador said that he hoped for a solution to global warming and an international agreement on green house gas emissions. The Japanese Ambassador said that he was worried about world fish stocks and wanted an end to over fishing. And the British ambassador said that he felt that crystallised fruits were much appreciated at this time of year."
Pondering the Christmas list quandary I found that amongst other things I genuinely want some new socks this year. I suspect my 18 year old son of commendeering mine. But noble a desire as clean, dry, warm feet are, they hardly seem to be a life changing gift. Shouldn't I be aiming a little higher?
We were out to dinner with some friends on Saturday night, setting the world to rights. Having banned smart phones, the internet, 24 hour news and all food apart from kale and curry (and most puddings as well!), we got round to discussing what we wanted for our children. What our ambitions were for them. It's often as you talk about your kids that you reveal what you truly value. What you really want for yourself.
I was still thinking this one through this morning when I came to Paul's ambitions for the Christians in Ephesus and decided they were the thing that I really wanted on my Christmas list and for my kids. Here they are:
"17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come." (Ephesians 1:17-21)
1. To know God my Father and the Lord Jesus Christ better through the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. There is nothing more precious that knowing God. Nothing more important. Nothing more satisfying.
2. For the eyes of my heart (a phrase I love!) to be enlightened so that I might know with ever greater clarity the glorious future that I have with all God's people. There is nothing more certain and no greater privilege.
3. To know more of the incomparably great power of God at work in me which will raise me from this life or the dead to that great and perfect future, just as it raised the Lord Jesus from the dead.
If I could just taste a little more of those three things this Christmas, then I am certain that my turkey would seem even more bland, I might even skip the crystallised fruits.