As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized how little materialistic items under the tree mean and how much the gifts that we have to offer to one another actually do mean. This Christmas, I’m not asking for the iPhone 8 or the newest pair of Timberlands. Instead, I’m asking for this:

  1. Peace – “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” – Matthew 5:9
    1. I await the day when we may put to the side our anger, hostility, and frustrations, and realize that the only way to success is through seeking out peace. “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” This Christmas, I ask that I may be filled with the grace to be the sign of peace in the lives of everyone I meet and that I may be an instrument of peace in my thoughts, words, and actions each and every day.
  2. Understanding Each Other – “Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of understanding.” – Prov. 9:6
    1. Too often do we hear something and immediately think of how we are going to respond to or rebut it. What happened to simply listening to one another? This year we have seen such a political divide. Whether this divide be based off of candidates or of issues, we have tended to split ourselves against each other. . This Christmas, I ask that we may look to each other and remember that it does not matter if we are different. Each of us is at a different point in our lives, each of us has experienced something different in our lives, and each of us deserves to be listened to.
  3. Respect “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”.
    1. The person next to you is just as unique and special as you are. They have something to offer to this world, and so do you. Each one of us is a Child of God. We are not Jew, Greek, slave, free, male, female, black, white, immigrant, Latino, straight, LGBT, rich, poor… the list goes on. This Christmas, I ask that we may genuinely be able to look at one another as what they are – a person.
  4. Unity – “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and is made complete in us.” – 1 John 4:12
    1. What I ask for most this Christmas is a unity among all of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. This can only be achieved through seeking peace, understanding, and respect every day of our lives. This Christmas season, as we prepare for the Birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, let us find peace in our hearts, and implement understanding in our minds and respect through our actions. God calls us to live a life unified with one another, and this Christmas I ask that we put all differences aside, and start working together and live out our mission in this world – to love one another.