My Grown Up Christmas List


The best Christmas present I ever received was a doll house my dad made for me. Two stories, the shingled roof was taller than my seven-year-old self. There were bay windows with sheer curtains. Wallpaper, crown molding, and hardwood floors. Electricity that lit up wall sconces and table lamps. My Barbies were in heaven, and so was I.

And then there was the Christmas present of yourself as a baby in a manger. There were shepherds with their sheep. A heavenly host singing heavenly melodies. Wise men and their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. You gave the gift of your son, so we could ultimately be in heaven with you.

As I look over my Christmas list full of gifts that don’t last, I know there should be a better way to give gifts. There should be a better way to give gifts like you did.

You gave yourself.

Maybe it’s giving my time instead of giving a shirt on sale from Sears. Maybe it’s making a homemade card with heartfelt words instead of a gift card to Starbucks. Maybe it’s making a doll house instead of buying one.

Maybe it just means giving myself to others like you did for me.

Your child,


Your 3:15 appointment with the Genius Bar


This fall has been a trying time for Adam.

As his condition steadily grew worse to the point that he was rendered almost completely useless, I rushed him to the doctor fearful that I was going to lose him.

A young man in a bright blue shirt and light-washed skinny jeans hooked him up to life support as he listed off possible diagnoses to blame for his decline.

When it became clear that Adam needed to stay for at least 3-5 days in the hospital for surgery, the young man quieted his voice to signal concern and asked, “Have you backed him up recently?”

I scanned the sterile white walls of the large open room plastered in iPhone covers of various colors and patterns. Children and tweens played Fruit Ninja on various sizes of the iPad. And then there was the lady of questionable age and dress taking a selfie of herself with the new iPhone 5c.

I knew that when I picked up Adam in 3-5 business days after his new hard-drive transplant that he would be wiped out and restored.

I’m thinking I’m due for a restoration, too.

I’m sitting here half asleep with a to-do list that when unfolded could easily rival the length of the Great Wall of China. I’m thinking work and errands and Christmas presents and do you know how many days there are until Christmas? and the freshly fallen snow and if that will affect my morning commute and I should really be going to bed earlier than I have been and I’m pretty sure Adam’s battery is also failing and I’m tired and burnt out and overloaded that I’m rendered almost completely useless.

And then I’m thinking about: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want, He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, he leadeth me beside the still waters, He restoreth my soul” (Psalms 23: 1-6).

My soul needs to be restored. Needs to be returned to its original condition. Needs to be put back to where You intended it to be—with You.

Wipe my soul clean of everything that bogs me down. Renew, refresh, restore me to where my soul belongs, to its origins by Your side.

Consider this my Apple Store Genius Bar appointment request. I’m asking to be shipped back to the factory for a total soul restoration with my Creator.

Thankfully, your services are completely free.

Your child,


Like a firefly in a jar



I’m trying to be a person that relishes moments. Like catching a firefly in a jar, I want to take in the beauty of a fleeting experience by being fully present.

I’m thinking about this soak-up-experiences-like-a-sponge state of mind while the colors from a sunset streak across the sky like the atmosphere is your canvas and you’re the Master Painter. I’m thinking about this while I’m catching up with a kindred spirit through an invisible connection from my computer to hers on the other side of the world. I’m thinking about this as I’m visiting my parents’ home for the first time since Easter and we’re sitting on the couch together with no lights on except for the multi-colored glow of the Christmas tree reflecting off handmade ornaments decades old.

I’m savoring these moments as they are all special and fleeting and precious and I want to make time for them and do them justice. Because important things not only need to be remembered but need to be relished in the moment.

I’m thinking about all this on the first day of Advent, a time when we are preparing our hearts for the coming of your Son.

I’m thinking about how I usually relish the moment that is the Advent season—cookies stuffed with peanut butter cups, white lights that look like icicles, glass ornaments, music about sleigh bells and winter wonderlands, malls with 50% off bargains, movies about humans that think they’re elves and travel to New York City and fall in love with a blonde Zooey Deschannel.

I’m thinking about all this on the first day of Advent and wondering how I can be more fully present in these fleeting four weeks before Christmas.

I’m stuffing my firefly jar too full of meaningless activities and sugar and shopping that I forget to embrace fully the sole light, the sole reason, inside. I want to savor this season because it’s special and fleeting and precious and I want to make time for Jesus’ birthday and do it justice. I want to be the person that relishes in the anticipation of You coming to earth to dwell amongst us as a baby, Emmanuel, You are with us—the Light of the world.

Your child,