Wanting Less For Christmas

Today I’m thinking about wanting less.

That’s a bit odd, given that we’re heading over the river and through the woods to my in-laws’ house filled with gift-crazed kids from four generations. We’re preparing for the annual unwrapping frenzy loosely inspired by ancient offerings of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

I love opening my surprises as much as everyone else. I enjoy the over-the-top Christmas at the farm. Piles of wrapping paper, wonderful food prepared by loving hands that could feed a small army, squabbling children, squabbling adults, football games between teams I’ve never heard of.

I love playing new games, doing jigsaw puzzles, figuring out new electronics, searching for lost directions—it’s just all a great, warm, chaotic few days.

So why am I thinking about “less.”?

Jesus had it all. And He let go. He took less—much, much less—so I could have it all.

How do you do that? How do you volunteer to leave the splendor of Heaven and the perfect intimacy of the Trinity? How do you willingly exchange the worship of angels for the scorn of those You created?

I know the words, the theology, the answers we’ve discerned from His words and actions. I understand, as long as I don’t think about it too deeply. I can wrap my mind around a nice story from the two-thousand-year-old past.

But when I remember that it’s not just a nice cuddly story, when I remember that He knew the link between the manger and the cross, I can’t make it make sense. I know He did it for me, for love, but I cannot claim to comprehend what’s behind that kind of sacrifice.

Would I make that choice? As much as I’d like to say I would, it’s just not true. I don’t want to surrender what I’ve got. As much as I know better, the fact is that I want more.

I’m thinking about wanting less. I’m grateful that Jesus chose to want less. I want to want less.

For this Christmas, I guess that’ll have to be enough.

Do you think you understand what Jesus gave up? What do you feel as you consider His choice to want less so we could have it all?