One of the most significant Christmas memories I have from my childhood was that day in late October when we would load up the family Ford Fairlane and drive to the Magic Kingdom otherwise known as Sears, Roebuck and Company! It was truly a magical place year round but especially so in the months leading up to Christmas.
Because Santa had a deal with Sears to be his distributor for every toy produced by the elves at the North Pole and his entire inventory was displayed in brilliant living color in the first book I ever read cover to cover. It was called the Wish Book, and it truly represented the potential fulfillment of every wish a six-year-old could ever have.
Here is how the plan worked. First, we would rush to Sears and secure our own copy of the Wish Book. Then we would take it home and each child in the family would do deep research into every toy pictured and described in the book. Once the best, must have, toys were selected they were then identified by circling the picture, making a list, initialing the selection, etc. The Wish Book was always left under the Christmas tree so "Santa" could easily find it and take note of the selections that were made. Of course it never hurt to make Mom and Dad very aware of every selection that had been made. We always kind of figured there was some type of partnership between Santa and them anyway.
This process was pretty much repeated daily until the Wish Book was tattered, torn, and wished to pieces. The system never let us down. We never received everything we circled or wished for, but as I recall, we always received what we wished for the most. Santa always came through with what we wanted the most. He seemed to know our heart's desire.
Fifty-three years later I find that I do not wish for toys and gifts much anymore. I think I have learned wishes are precious and not to be used lightly. I now wish for things that are more significant and eternal. Wishes like “Peace on Earth and Good Will to Men" are so much more important to me now.
John 12:21 tells of a group of men who came to Phillip and said "Sir, we wish to see Jesus." That's my wish for Christmas 2017 – that the world would see Jesus and that He would be seen through my love, words, and deeds. Our Lord knows our deepest needs, and He hears our greatest wishes.
What will you wish for this Christmas?
- What is your greatest personal wish (prayer) for this Christmas?
- How can you help people see Jesus through your life this Christmas?
Ryland Whitehorn is the Executive Pastor of Ministries at First Baptist Church of Dallas where he has served since 2008. He is married to Renea and they have two married daughters and three grandchildren.