Every year round about Thanksgiving, the same question always comes: “Mom, what do you want for Christmas this year?”

I remember Christmases from my childhood, when my brother and I would study the Sears-Roebuck toy catalog, all the while dreaming of the things that would show up under the tree with our names attached.

As a child and into my early teen years, things seemed so important. Amassing the newest and greatest toys or fads and comparing our holiday inheritance with friends upon our return to school following Christmas break. “What did you get? Want to know what I got?”

I remember my early adult years, asking my parents and my husband’s parents the same question my children ask: “What would you like for Christmas this year?” I was never quite satisfied with their answer, which was something like, “Just time with our family,” or “Something simple to remind us of you.”

They had entered that phase of life that I never then imagined entering: They were trying to rid their homes and their hearts of things that no longer served them well or served as a distraction from the things that really mattered.

Now, having crossed that imaginary line of demarcation into our middle age years, my husband and I occupy that same phase. We’ve entered the place where “things” are no longer the goal but the distraction from the “who” and the “where” we’d rather focus on. I no longer desire things for Christmas. I prefer time with those I love, making memories to sustain me when we’re apart.

With one son off at college and another preparing to apply, the things my husband and I desire most are the treasures that cannot be bought and hold no monetary value.

What I really want for Christmas

So when my children begin to ask, “Mom, what do you want for Christmas this year?” answers to that question don’t come as readily to me as they do to the younger generation in our home.

I told my boys I’d need some time to think that over before I could give them an appropriate response.

With a recent cancer diagnosis, this year the holidays have me reflecting more than usual. My priorities have shifted a bit, and I’m taking care to focus on enjoying a few special things well and dispensing with the traditions and trappings that primarily serve to drain my energy and resources. Less importance has been given to some of our typical Christmas traditions like tree trimming, card sending, and gift wrapping.

Perhaps more than ever, I’ve felt God impress upon my heart that Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and HE desires for us to have peace in our life despite our current circumstances. Peace is where I desire to reside, and the gift I would wish for all.

About the time my sons were inquiring about gift suggestions, I underwent surgery in an attempt to remove the cancer. A friend called to ask, “What can I do for you? What do you need? If there is anything that I can provide, please don’t hesitate to ask.”

I thought briefly before responding, “Thank you. What I want and what I need aren’t tangible things, but rather, only things that God can provide.”

Sleep was a bit more difficult to come by, with the pain a frequent reminder of the reality of our situation. During one particularly sleepless night, I plugged in the Christmas tree lights and sat at the foot of the tree, staring up into the twinkling lights. One ornament caught my eye instead of all the others. On it was emblazoned the word HOPE.

It struck me fitting that the ornament that grabbed my focus happened to be one that perfectly reflected the true reason we celebrate the holiday. Because of God’s gift to us in the birth of His son, we now have hope. Despite the new, recent diagnosis, I still have hope.

As I sat at the base of the lit tree, thinking of the trials our family had faced recently, as well as all the things that hadn’t and wouldn’t get done in preparation for Christmas, I considered a familiar passage:

“Don’t worry about anything, instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. THEN you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

 

What I really want for Christmas this year is peace. Philippians 4:6-7 shows us how we obtain God’s peace. #BibleVerse #inspirationalquote

What I desired most this Christmas was His gift of peace: Peace in my physical condition, peace over my emotions, peace for my family despite our circumstances.

Normally when I read that passage, I tended to focus on the first four words, “Don’t worry about anything…” But this time I really considered its exhortation to “…pray about everything, Tell God what you need…”

It was as if the God of the Universe was saying, “What do you want for Christmas, Michelle?”

It was a challenge, to be sure, but he was imploring me not to worry, but instead, to prayerfully share my needs with Him, just as my son and my friends had asked me to do, and then thank Him for what He has done.

That was the key to peace not just this Christmas, but all year through.

I had already shared with my friend that what I needed most this year was something only God could provide. Now He beckoned me to ask.

For My Husband: We have prayed for God to heal him of cancer—I want him to see and experience the physical manifestation of that healing. I want him to know in a deeper way how much God and I love him, not for what he does but because of whose He is. I want him to have the desire of his heart, to find his voice and to share with others what God has done for him. I want him to live out his calling.

For My Children: I want them to know that they are and always will be a priority to us. I want them to have a spiritual family legacy that they can be proud of, learn from, and pass on to their own children. I want them to know who they are in Christ and walk in it, using all the gifts, talents, tools, and weapons God has already given them. I want them to know that when storms come (and they will!), to stand on the firm foundation and always stay focused on the One who calms the storms. I want them to know that their father and I love them very much, but they have a Heavenly Father who loves them enough that He sent His son to die for them and now walks with them every day. And I want Him to guide them on the path He has individually for each of them.

For My Friends: I want you to know the depth of my gratitude for weeping with us when we weep, and rejoicing with us when we rejoice, and that I want to do the same for you. I want you to know that it is my desire to walk alongside you in ministry and in life, and to pray with you and for you, expectant for how the Lord will answer. I want your days of laughter to be much more plentiful than your days of tears. I want you to experience the depth of the hope, peace, and love that prevail because of Him.

For My Patients: I want you to know that I made your well-being and caring for you a top priority. While I have education, training, and skills, I want you to encounter my Jesus, The One True Healer. I pray you will experience His saving light in your dark places. I want more than anything for you to know that because of Him, Hope Prevails!

For Me: I want to learn everything God has for me to learn in this season, so that I would continuously grow to look and act more like Jesus. I want to know God better and experience more of His unconditional and everlasting love through the trials we endure. I want to exchange my worry, fear, and anxiety for the gift of His peace. I want more doors to open for me to be able to share Him and my testimony of what He has done for me with others. I want to shine like a beacon of light for those wrestling in darkness. I want to comfort others with the comfort He has extended to us. I want to share the Hope, peace, and joy that I know prevails because of Him, despite our earthly circumstances. Ultimately, I want to hear Him say, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

Each of these wishes may look a little different, and take a slight variation, but when we get right down to it, they all amount to the same thing. This Christmas and all throughout the year, all I want is a little more of Jesus.

All I want for Christmas is more Jesus. #inspirationalquote #Jesus

I don’t know what you are wishing for this Christmas, whether it’s tangible, physical, relational, or emotional. But God wants to hear about your desires from you, and what a joy to know there is a safe place to come and share our innermost desires. As we thank Him for the answers, He promises peace to guard our hearts and minds.

My prayer for you this Christmas is that instead of worrying, you’ll bring your needs to Him, thank Him for all He has done, is doing, and will do, and then enjoy the PEACE that comes from Him.

Because of Him, #PeacePrevails!

 

The Gift of Hope makes a Great Stocking Stuffer!

Hope Prevails Book and Hope Prevails Bible Study {hope for overcoming depression}

Hope Prevails and Hope Prevails Bible Study make great stocking stuffers! Available now at Amazon!

Available now through book retailers!

Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression and the companion Hope Prevails Bible Study help the reader understand how depression comes to be, recover their joy, reclaim their peace, and re-establish their true identity, while knowing their worth, remembering their secure destiny, and being confident that nothing separates them from God’s love.

 

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Have you ever been asked “what do you really want for Christmas” by a family member? How about from God? #inspirational #Christmas

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