Ho! Ho! Ho! A very Merry Christmas to you all!
May everything you have, want and need be wrapped in pretty paper and await you under the tree.
I love these three words: Have. Want. Need. I often wonder if they mean the same thing. But don’t believe me, believe the gorgeous rocker/singer/songwriter, Sheryl Crow:
I don’t have digital.
I don’t have diddly squat.
It’s not having what you want.
It’s wanting what you’ve got.
(lyrics from “Soak up the Sun”)
What’s under your Christmas tree? Something you have? Anything you want? One thing you need? Ah, need. Need is the best. Need is desire. Your heart’s desire. All the good little girls and boys get their heart’s desire.
Uh, oh. We are talking about goodness. Must we be good to get our heart’s desire? “Yes,” according to Santa Claus, we must be good before we get our wrapped annual wants.
Everyone knows that.
I’m awesome at projecting personal goodliness — being a pastor’s wife and all — so for the most part I’m safe. Dear Santa Claus, please bring me one heart’s desire. Now.
You could not hear, but Santa just informed me that I was not good enough this year and there will be no presents for me. So I will shop for myself and get exactly what I want, er, need. As if it’s not enough to get lectured by Santa, I also get it from broody rocker/singer/songwriter, Dave Matthews:
What I want is what I’ve not got.
And what I need
Is all around me.
(lyrics from “Jimi Thing”)
Must we over-analyze Christmas? Quit telling me what I need, is what I want, is what I have. I don’t have diddly squat. People think I’m a Lutheran do-gooder, but secretly I’m no-good.
“I take all the no-do-gooders.” That’s a paraphrase from Jesus.
“But then how do we get our Christmas presents?” I ask.
“You get your heart’s desire,” Jesus responds. “That’s my deal.” Again, a paraphrase.
“But if you give Christmas presents to everyone, then how will we separate the good people from the bad people?” Obviously, Jesus doesn’t understand have, want and need. I am still counting on my awesome ability to project personal goodness.
“That’s what you do,” said Jesus, with regard to determining who gets the goods and who does not. “I don’t make such distinctions. Nothing against Santa, but I’m not like him.”
So let me get this straight. Santa is telling me that I’m not good enough. Jesus, while not disagreeing with Santa, is telling me that being good is not his criteria.
And by the way, what is being good? I am sure it has nothing to do with haves, wants and needs. I am certain it has something to do with Martin Luther’s revolutionary twist on who’s in and who’s out. I am convinced it has everything to do with the rock star/prophet, Isaiah:
I have come to preach good news
To the poor,
To bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim freedom for the captives,
To release prisoners from the darkness,
To comfort all who mourn.
Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!
Terri Mork Speirs is a writer, mother and the communications manager for the Des Moines Area Religious Council. She is studying for a master of fine arts degree in creative writing.