Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December Newsletter Article: "My Christmas Wish List"

It's been a long time since I've compiled a “Christmas Wish List.” (Although I do have an ongoing Wish List at Amazon.com. Not fishing for gifts, mind you. I'm just sayin'.) My daughter, however, is now at the age where she knows that Christmas is coming. She has been busy looking at toy and doll catalogs and letting mom and dad know what she wants. Despite the fact that she has become quite the little mercenary, I'm glad she knows that the real reason we celebrate Christmas is because it is Jesus' birthday.

If I were to write up a “Christmas Wish List” at this point in my life, what would it contain … other than what's on my Amazon list, of course? As I pondered this question, I couldn't come up with any better list than what Luther came up with in his explanation to the Fourth Petition of the Lord's Prayer in the Small Catechism. It's not really a “Wish List,” however. Rather, it's a list of items by which he explains what is meant by “daily bread,” which is everything that pertains to the support of one's body and life.

So here's my “Christmas Wish List” (adapted from Luther's explanation to the Fourth Petition):

  • That the Lord would continue to provide sufficient, nourishing food for me and my family
  • That He would continue to grant us warm, protective clothing and shelter
  • That He would bless the farmers of our land with fertile soil and a productive harvest
  • That He would continue to give me financial provision for the support of my family
  • That He would strengthen the faith of my already devout wife
  • That He would cause my children to grow in their faith in Jesus and devoutly remain in their baptismal grace
  • That He would bless our land with devout and faithful rulers who truly seek the good of our citizens and who will stand up for the unborn, the weak, and the defenseless
  • That He would bless us with good government that allows us the freedoms we enjoy in our nation
  • That He would grant good weather to our community and keep all weather-related adversity from us
  • That He would bring lasting peace where there is conflict in the world and grant safety to our military personnel who serve in places of danger
  • That He would give me and my family good health
  • That He would enable me to live a consistent, disciplined life of devotion and prayer
  • That I would not besmirch our Lord's reputation by ruining mine
  • That He would bless all the good friends he has given me (including all of you at Messiah!)
  • That He would grant us good neighbors, and that my family and I would live as good neighbors in return

Actually, this list is not really a “Wish List,” as if behind it all are mere faint hopes for things that are played with for a while and then soon stashed away. Instead, this is really a “Prayer List,” a list of petitions offered to the One who best knows how to graciously answer our requests. You, too, can add these items to your “Christmas Wish List” and submit them in prayer to your Heavenly Father. And you can be assured that our loving God and Savior will answer your prayers according to his good and gracious will.

May He bless you with a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

In Christ's service and yours,
Pastor Onken

P.S. Is it too late to add a box of See's Candy to my list?

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