I admit it, I'm a Christmas sucker.
I relish the nostalgia and wonder that comes with the season, and I try to soak up every second for all its worth. Stick me in the month of December and I'm like a little kid. I'm a hopeless romantic for all the sights and sounds of the holiday.
Especially the music. Oh, the music. If there's anything that overwhelms me with a wave of festive nostalgia, it's a Christmas song. I have a whole playlist on my iPod that sits like a hidden jewel from January through November, just waiting to be taken out and enjoyed.
One of my favorites is "My Grown-Up Christmas List." Call it corny if you want, but remember I'm a sucker. Its chorus goes like this:
"No more lives torn apart/ That wars would never start/ And time would heal all hearts/ And everyone would have a friend/ And right would always win/ And love would never end/ This is my grown-up Christmas list."
The song is from the perspective of an adult who has left behind the days of dolls and toy soldiers, but now has a deeper, more mature wish for Christmas. The traditional gifts you would find beneath the tree are replaced by the yearning for a hurting world to be made right.
I love this song because of its unintentional irony. It thinks its leaving behind the trademarks of Christmas and addressing something bigger. But what it's actually doing is bringing Christmas back to what it was originally meant to be.
The birth of Christ goes deeper than tinsel and bell-ringing. It's more than a celebration of a famous person, the way we celebrate Washington's birthday, or Martin Luther King, Jr. It's not just an excuse to wear tacky sweaters and drink too much egg nog.
As "My Grown-Up Christmas List" puts it: "As children we believed/ The grandest sight to see/ Was something lovely/ Wrapped beneath our tree/ But heaven only knows/ That packages and bows/ Can never heal/ A hurting human soul."
If Christmas only goes so deep as the lights and decorations, then it serves as nothing more than a distraction to a lost world. It gives us a month of cheer and goodwill, but as soon as the tree comes down, we still have to face the sin and pain of life. Presents "can never heal a hurting human soul."
Jesus came to earth to do just that. He came to restore what was broken, "to seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10). He came to give us an inheritance in God's eternal kingdom, a perfect paradise in the presence of the Almighty where "wars would never start" and "love would always win." It's a place where "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away" (Revelation 21:4).
I don't know if the writer of "My Grown-Up Christmas List" knew this when they penned the words. But intentional or not, the song actually brings Christmas back to its roots. It's not offering a new or different view of Christmas. It's reminding of us of what Christmas was divinely intended to be.
I'll always be a Christmas sucker. I hope you are, too. But more than that, I hope you remember why Christ came in the first place and I hope you desire the restoration He brings. I hope His peace, His joy, and His promise of a perfect eternity is your grown-up Christmas list.