Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.
She had been waiting for this moment for weeks now. All the other kids in her class had already told Santa what they wanted for Christmas. Her mom had been urging her to make her list to give to Santa, but she just couldn't make up her mind.
"Why is it so difficult for you to decide?" Mom asked her. "I have so many things to do and I can't keep asking you for your list."
"I know what I want but I don't know how to write it," she replied.
"Your brother made his list up weeks ago. Of course he wants the entire toy store, but at least he has a list."
"He's just a child mother!" She replied.
"Oh, and you're so mature at the age of nine?"
"I'll be a teenager soon!" She replied.
Although she had four years to get ready for it, that was something mom didn't want to think about these days. Time was always a precious thing to her. Even more so now that she lost her husband last year in a work related accident. Bills have been piling up and work difficult to find. On top of that, her own mother was seriously ill requiring her to visit her daily.
The holidays are normally quite hectic, but this one was particularly difficult.
Finally, one day while mom was visiting grandma, the young girl sat down to make her list.
She neatly folded the paper and placed inside the special green and red envelope, sealed it and left it on the table for Santa.
Just before bed time that day she told her mom that she did indeed make her Christmas wish list.
Her and her brother would place their lists together on the kitchen table and "magically" the list would disappear by morning reaching Santa through what they called "North Pole air mail."
Just before heading to bed herself, mom sat down to read her daughter's list.
Quietly and carefully opening it, she unfolded the paper.
It was blank.
"This has never happened before," she thought.
But how could she even ask her daughter about it. This was a letter to Santa and parents never see those things.
Lying in bed that night mom came up with the answer. They were planning on attending the church Christmas party the next night. Every year Santa would make a visit and give each child in attendance a small gift. Since Mom knew Santa personally, so she would ask him to make a point to speak to her daughter about the blank letter.
The party was festive and filled with holiday goodies. Music and laughter filled the small church basement as Santa made his entrance.
Mom stood by her children waiting eagerly for him to speak to her daughter.
"Well, Jessica. How are you? I got your list this year but, I'm a bit confused. It was blank. I even checked it twice. Don't you want any presents this year?" Santa asked.
Jessica motioned for Santa to come closer.
"What I want this year you can't bring," she said.
"Oh, but Santa has lots of things for good little girls and boys," the old gentleman assured her.
"I don't want things," she said. "What I want only God can give me."
It suddenly became very quiet in the room.
"But you can help me, Santa," Jessica said.
"Anything, Jessica," Santa said in his real voice and quite out of character.
"Will you pray with me?" She asked.
"Of course, what do you need?"
"All I want this year is for my Mom to be happy and my grandma well," Jessica said.
There wasn't a dry eye in the room.
Santa stood tall, clasped the hands of the little girl and began to pray.
"Oh, Heavenly Father, God of all that is good, please hear my prayer. Jessica has requested a very special gift this year. One that only You can provide. I am just the provider of things of this world. Things that have no real value. But you Oh, God, are the Provider of life and the Giver of everlasting love. This young child, with wisdom far beyond her years, asks nothing for herself, but for her mom to be happy and her grandmother well. Please hear the prayer of this child and bless her for her generous spirit all the days of her life."
And the people gathered there said "Amen!"
"Jessica," her mom said.
"Look, it happened already! I've never been happier in my life."
And so it will be for you, too, my friends. If you have made your list for Santa already, I urge you to "check it twice." For things bring only temporary happiness and God's Love eternal joy.
Dear Lord, as we approach Christmas help us remember the things that are truly important. Open our eyes today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.