I love Christmas! What I really like about it is giving and receiving Christmas cards. It is neat to open a card and see from whom it was sent. Then I usually say things like, “We’ll that was nice of them!” and “I wonder what they have been up to?” and “Well it is good to hear from those guys.” Unfortunately, sometimes I open it and have to say, “Oops, I forgot to send them a card this year!!” Any way you look at it, Christmas cards are a great part of the season. Elizabeth and I send out a good many Christmas cards. (If you don’t get one from us, I probably don’t have your address, so send it to me!) We usually pick out cards with a crawfish or alligator dressed up in a Santa Claus suit that has a Christmas greeting on the inside with some Cajun flair.
Another exciting thing that I write up during this time of year is my Christmas wish list. I want to make sure old Santa Claus knows exactly what I want this year, and some faux-pas to avoid (including sweaters, handkerchiefs with my initials on them, and hard loaves of fruitcake). My wish list is usually posted proudly on the icebox for all to see and for my wife to tell Santa Claus in case he stops by or calls.
When I stop and think about these two special elements of Christmas, I contemplate my prayer life and talking with God during this special season. I often question the method and style of my praying. I realize there is no distinct style that is “correct” or that God will hear any faster, but our prayer styles often closely compare to the two writing styles above. Are your prayers like a wish list - slowly communicating to God what you want from him, when you want it, how you want it, and what you don’t want him to do? Do you specifically pray for things that you want that will make your life easier, more convenient, or will help you personally? Are you praying to God like he is Santa Claus?
Hopefully, your prayer life is more like a Christmas card or a thank-you note. Hopefully you are expressing to God how much you appreciate his love, mercy and grace in your life. Hopefully when you pray you are realizing the power and impact of simple communication with God. Is God surprised when he hears you talk with Him, maybe saying, “…haven’t heard from them in a while”?
This season, spend some time with your family in prayer, recognizing what God did for us, and continually thanking Him for showering us with blessings. Thank Him also for the difficult times you experienced this year. The Bible says that through these difficult times we grow stronger in our faith, closer to God, and more reliant on His Word… and having those three things on your Christmas list wouldn’t be a bad idea at all!