Posted on Dec 11, 2021

12 December 2021

Like just about everyone here, as a child, I made lists of what I wanted for Christmas.

When I was younger, the lists were pretty long.

The fruit of pouring over the catalogues that came to our house.

As I got older, the lists got shorter.

I was more focused in my suggesting.

And, I learned to ask for big things–a bike, a stereo, a camera, a radio.

And, eventually, I knew that I crossed some line into maturity,

when my list was as simple as clothes and cash.

My father never liked my lists.

Whenever I’d bring anything up about my lists, or mention something that was on my list,

he’d scowl and say, “Around here we have Christmas 365 days a year.

By the time I was in second grade, I learned it was better to turn my lists over to my mother.

                        Don’t we all learn how to get what we want?

In the gospel this morning, the crowds, the tax collectors and soldiers are after something.

“What must we do?”  They keep saying. “What must we do?”

The answers they’re given are fairly straightforward.

Be generous the crowds are told.

Be honest, the tax collectors are told.

Be kind, the soldiers are told.

Whatever they’re after, it’s expensive.

Who ever heard of a soldier being kind?

Who ever heard of a tax collector being honest?

Who ever heard of people really putting their own self interests aside?

What are they after?  What do they want?

Life with God. In simplest terms they want Christmas.

We come here and say that’s what we want too.

This year, how will Christmas come–

Not the stuff of Christmas, but Christmas–life with God.

Perhaps more importantly,

What are we really willing to spend on Christmas coming this year?

Again, not the stuff of Christmas, but Christmas itself.

What are we willing to do for Christmas to come?

In many ways Christmas doesn’t cost a thing–

And yet, it’s not cheap.