My Christmas List

If you’ve read a post or two here previously you know that I often take disparate observations and see in them some thoughtful or meaningful connection or message.  You also know that I usually try to make some connection to The Race Before Us in these posts.  So, with that warning, here’s “My Christmas List.”


Sometime this past weekend, after spending most of the prior week in New York City on business, I realized it was time to try to get myself more into the Christmas season.  So, I used my iTunes buttons on my cell phone to call up the Christmas “genre” – which gave me a list of my saved “Christmas” songs.  (Not to be too cynical, but I do wonder – and worry – how long it will be before our secular society convinces Apple to change the name of the “genre” to “Holiday Songs.”)  Probably my favorite (with apologies to Nat King Cole) are a few by Amy Grant, including “Grown-Up Christmas List.”  I am really enjoying listening to both classic and modern songs celebrating the season, including of course “Grown-Up Christmas List” (and “chestnuts roasting on an open fire, jack frost nipping at your nose,” formally known as “The Christmas Song”).

Monday I got around to reading a new Religion Today article (from Friday, December 13, 2013) from my new friend Jim Tonkowich.  (If you read the “Acknowledgements” in the book, you will see a note of thanks to “Jim Tonkowich,” who helped to edit an early version of the manuscript.)  At the end of the article (warning:  Jim is a little critical of our America, entitlement culture), Jim presents his own “grown-up” Christmas list (yet, I do not think he had Amy Grant in mind), which is as follows (although I urge you to read the full article):

For Christmas I want virtue, duty, responsibility, commitment, and sacrifice. Don’t you?

And, as connections go, this recalled our discussion at Sunday School the prior week when we investigated the “moral argument” as discussed in The Race Before Us  (more about that in another “Doubt, Faith & Truth” post – coming soon), where we asked:  “If humans are solely the product of time, matter and chance, from where do we get our sense of altruism and self-sacrifice?”  [Jim’s Christmas list also recalls a great book by Os Guinness – A Free People’s Suicide, in which he argues, rather persuasively I might add, that absent a citizenry that is virtuous and willing to constrain itself – values that are derived from belief in God – the American democracy and freedom as we know it will not survive.  Dramatic stuff, but worth a ponder – better yet, its not to late to put it on your Christmas list.  Come to think of it, its not too late to order The Race Before Us for your friends and families, even if its not on their “list.”]

Here is a portion of “Grown-up Christmas List” (written by David Foster and Linda Thompson-Jenner):

“Grown-Up Christmas List”

Do you remember me, I sat upon your knee

I wrote to you with childhood fantasies

 Well I’m all grown-up now, And still need help somehow

I’m not a child, But my heart still can dream

 So here’s my lifelong wish

My grown-up Christmas list

Not for myself, But for a world in need

No more lives torn apart

That wars would never start

And time would heal all hearts

Everyone would have a friend

And right would always win

And love would never end

This is my grown-up Christmas list

Yesterday I did two other things.  I sent my law partner (who has a fairly new daughter – his first after two boys) one of my favorite books – Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters (he now agrees, “there’s nothing like daddy’s little girl”).  I also sent my family my list of things I wanted for Christmas.  My list had 5 items:  three “entitlement” times (things for my plans to walk the Camino de Santiago in April), a “date” with my wife, and “schedule our dad-daughter weekends.”

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  1. #1 by Raper, Thomas C. on December 19, 2013 - 3:13 pm

    Very nice Bruce…I should check out the Fathers book….struggling a tad with my strong willed 16 year old!

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