All I Want for Christmas


. . . making the most of the time . . . –Ephesians 5:15 RSV

Leftover turkey in the fridge. Blaze orange clothing over backs of chairs. Plastic bins of Christmas decorations in the hall. Has it really been a year since I packed them away? Before I know it, I’ll be packing them up again.

Slow down, time, and let me savor each day as this season unfolds. Let me not get so caught up with lists and just the right gift and programs and housecleaning and baking, that by the time the day comes, I’ll be a bah-humbug.

Do you know what I’ve wanted to do for a long time?

Toss the lists—we have too much already. Closets and drawers overflowing. Food getting moldy in the fridge. Weight and health problems because we have over and above what we need and too many things we really don’t want.

I’d like to give Christmas away. Take all that money I’d spend on gifts that no one really needs and give it to someone who does. I’d like to go Christmas shopping for a family who wouldn’t have a Christmas otherwise. Food, clothes, toys. Pack it in boxes, leave it on their doorstep, ring the doorbell, and then hide and watch the wonder, the surprise, the joy.

But I’m locked in tradition. And I lack the courage to break it.

I can make a start—by telling my family not to get me anything. I’m not being a martyr here. Honest. I have more than enough.

And ask them, instead, for time. Time to enjoy a leisurely meal together. And it doesn’t have to be one someone spent all day in the kitchen preparing. Macaroni and cheese or bought pizza would be just fine. Time to watch a movie together and eat popcorn. Time to sit around the table and talk or play Monopoly or Sorry or Uno Attack. So what if my youngest son tromps me by fifty points every time we play Scrabble?

I want to call Sam and Deb and invite them to, as they so often joked, “come visit the poor folks.”

I don’t want to look back, at the end of my life, and cry, like poor, rich Solomon did, “Meaningless! Meaningless! Everything was meaningless!” (Ecclesiastes 1:2).

The most meaningful gifts don’t come with a price tag.

Like time. Like sharing. Like love. Like family. After all, when the chips are down, who else do we have? As Robert Frost once wrote, “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.”*

In the end, it all comes down to choice.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” *

Dear God, give me the courage to take the road less traveled by. Amen.

*“The Death of the Hired Man” and “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost.

From God, Me & a Cup of Tea for the Seasons, by Michele Huey. © 2018. All rights reserved. Used with permission.


Christmas Joy


Dear Lord, I’m feeling down today – the bills are stacked up high.

With Christmas just two weeks away, our bank account’s run dry.

The kids have all presented lists of things they want to see;

I hope and pray there’s nothing missed beneath our Christmas tree.

But I don’t have the money for expensive clothes and toys;

Our credit card can’t take much more – Lord, where’s my Christmas joy?

Perhaps it’s wrapped up in that hug my daughter gave this morn;

Or stacked with wood my son did lug to keep us nice and warm.

Perhaps it’s in my oldest’s eyes when he comes home on break

And sees I’ve baked those pumpkin pies he wanted me to make.

Perhaps it’s in the tired lines around my husband’s eyes;

Perhaps in love that’s grown with time I’ve found the greater prize.

A friend who gives a hearty smile and cupboards that aren’t bare;

And, even if they aren’t in style, I’ve got some clothes to wear;

A family who believes in me in all things great and small –

Dear God, I think I finally see – I am not poor at all!

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. – Matthew 6:21

I write this poem in the mid 1990s, when my kids were all still at home. I still need to remind myself to open my eyes to the treasures that surround me every day. May Christmas joy fill your heart, mind, spirit, and home.