What Do You Want For Christmas?

 

   The Advent season is once again upon us, and my family members have been asking me what I want for Christmas. As a child, I loved this question, because it meant that I could ask for anything in the world and it was up to Santa and my parents what they would get me; but as an adult, I have really come to despise that question. I don’t always know what to ask for, primarily because I have expensive tastes when it comes to gifts, and I don’t want to ask anyone to buy me expensive things. As a result, when I get this question, I usually hem and haw until I can think of something cheap that I can ask for.

   While Christmas is not all about the gifts, gift giving is a fun tradition for the holidays. Especially for parents, there is a certain amount of excitement in seeing your child open the present that he or she begged for, for months. We give presents at Christmas time to celebrate God’s greatest gift to us—that is, Jesus Christ. With that being said, Scripture encourages us to continue to ask of  the God who gives abundantly in the name of Jesus, but what do we ask for?

   In 1 Kings 3, King Solomon, Son of David, was newly appointed king of Israel. In that time, God appeared to him and said “Ask what I shall give you” (3:5). God placed no limits on what Solomon could ask for, and He did not expect repayment from the king for the gift. He merely said “ask.” Were any of us in his shoes, we could probably think of a laundry list of things for which we would ask of the Lord, but Solomon’s response was much less    common. “O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father…Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil” (3:7, 9).

   Of all of the things that the king could have asked for, his concern was to have wisdom to govern the people under his charge. He sought to govern the people as God would have him govern, “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6). Solomon asked for God’s guidance in the challenges that were too great for him; he surrendered his kingship and all that he was to God in that moment.

   For what have we asked of God lately? “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). Our Lord encourages us, who are inheritors of His promise, to ask, seek, and knock in our relationship with Him. He has promised to give us anything that we ask in the name of Jesus (John 14:13-14), but what are we asking for?

   Our God is not Santa Clause. He has not established a relationship with us so that we might receive worldly pleasures on the back of his cosmic sleigh. When we consider Christ and His life on earth, His requests were always in submission to the will of God. Even as He begged that the cup of the crucifixion be taken away from Him, He asked that the will of the Lord would be done first and foremost.

   As Christmas approaches and we think of the gifts we want to give and receive, let us consider the things we should ask of our heavenly Father. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5). Let us seek the Lord with our whole hearts and ask of Him those things that are according to His will, just as Solomon did when he was king and Christ did when He was to be crucified.

   “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15).


Your Servant in Christ,
Pastor Ryan Strange