It’s the Christmas season: a season of giving, yes, but of wanting, too.
The most common question we hear (if you’re a Christian at least) during this time of year is “What do you want for Christmas?”
There are a lot of things I want. I want more yarn for my knitting and crochet projects. I want a new car. I want fancy decorations for the holiday like the ones I see all over the shelter blogs. I want my own house, not a rental, preferably on 20+ acres.
There are a lot of opportunities I want. I want all of my debt to magically disappear so I have the opportunity to sleep better and breathe easier every day. I want my son to get the best education he can so he will have many opportunities in his life. I want the opportunity to travel that my financial situation just doesn’t allow. I want to visit my grandpa, who lives 1,000 miles away and whose health is failing rapidly, but being low man on the totem pole at work prevents that.
I want a lot from my family. I want my husband to look at Reddit less and play with our son more. I want my son to whine less and be more independent (while at the same time wanting him to need his mama more than anything).
I believe that wanting is a very human condition. Who else among all creatures is incapable of looking out across a valley blanketed in snow, mountains rising like sentinels from the valley floor, and just appreciating the view? Oh sure, we do that sometimes, but all too often our heads are cluttered with thoughts bouncing around in there like errant ping pong balls. And so much of our thinking is wanting.
The valley is beautiful, but I want to hike that mountain. The mountain is majestic, but I want a house in that valley.
It’s OK to want some of the time. It’s OK to have hopes and goals and dreams. We all work toward these desires every day; it gives our lives purpose.
Yet I can’t help but wonder when I have everything I want (How I ache for that house on 20 acres. ACHE.), what wanting will replace my current wants?
Can’t I just learn to be content?
Can’t I just appreciate the warm house I live in heated by an efficient wood stove? Can’t I just appreciate a car that runs fine despite its age and doesn’t have a car payment? Can’t I appreciate how much my husband does play with our son? Can’t I appreciate my son’s amazingly cheerful nature? Can’t I appreciate that though we can’t travel, we can drive for five minutes and lose ourselves in a national forest?
It’s an art, this wanting. And very talented artists are we all. We’ve refined the art of discounting our many blessings and succumbing to the wanting.
So here’s my challenge in the coming year: want less, appreciate more.
Someday I’ll have the things I want.
But nothing can replace what I have at this very moment: snow falling gently, the crackle of the fire, a husband cooking dinner and washing the dishes, an eager 2-year-old who loves little more than helping his mama bake cookies. What blessings abound.