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My Christmas list

By Mike Ruffin I remember when I wanted lots of things for Christmas. ‘How many things?’ you might ask. Well, let’s just say that had I sent a letter to Santa, it would have required extra postage. Somewhere there’s an 8mm film of nine-year-old me monopolizing Santa’s time as I tick off the items on my list while adults in the background laugh. But I wasn’t one to take chances. There were just so many toys to choose from. How was a boy supposed to decide what he had to have and what he could live without? Besides, how many chances did you get to say ‘I want all of this’ and know you had a decent chance of getting a lot of it? I figured it was best to tell Santa I wanted everything and to trust him to decide what was best. Now, I lived under special circumstances. I was the only child of middle-class parents. They spoiled me a little bit, by which I mean a lot. I got more for Christmas than I should have. It sure was fun. As I approach my sixtieth Christmas, I think I may have finally reached peak maturity. I realized this the other day when my Good Wife said, ‘You haven’t told me anything you want for Christmas’ and I answered, ‘That’s because I don’t want anything.’ I wasn’t kidding. And I wasn’t trying to be noble. In previous years I’ve said that I didn’t need anything, but I think this is the first one when I’ve said I didn’t want anything. I can’t quite get my head around the fact that I really don’t. But I really don’t. Oh, that doesn’t mean that I won’t enjoy opening any presents I might get. And I will get a few, because despite my failure to produce a wish list, my wife and children will give me things, and I’ll be happy to receive them because I know the love that stands behind them. Besides, I like surprises. Here’s the thing though: I have everything I want, mainly because I have everybody I want. I have a good wife, good children, good children-in-law, a good grandson, and a soon-to-be-born good granddaughter. While they are all good in the sense of being opposite from bad, that’s not what I mean. I mean that they are good gifts of God. I have them not because I deserve them, but rather by the grace of God. Now that I think about it, there is one thing I want for Christmas: I want everybody to have people in their lives that they love and that love them. I want everybody to experience that grace. Maybe it’s a mark of real maturity when we realize that the joy we find in our closest relationships is incomplete until everybody knows such joy. This Christmas, I wish it for you.

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