This morning on NPR I heard a brief news item on the most wished for Christmas gifts this year. Carl Kassel reported that this year “peace and happiness” was down, but “computers,” and “big screen TV” were are the top of the list. I didn’t catch the actual rankings, and couldn’t find it online, so you’ll just have to trust me.
Perhaps those who responded to surveys believe that a new computer will give them peace and happiness, so why wish for that without the stuff, when you can have both stuff and peace? Certainly a speedy new computer can make one’s computer time less frustrating, and it makes gadget-folk happy, at least for a few hours or days. Maybe that’s all they can imagine.
So what would be on my wish-list?
1. Peace and happiness
2. Less busy-ness and more quality time with my kids when we are home
3. Some home repairs (not necessarily improvements, but repairs)
4. Oh, and gadgets.
I suppose if you wanted a “pastoral” answer, I should have listed such things as “conquering sin” and “Jesus’ Return.” But those spiritual things really are the basis of #1. One cannot have peace without the peace which passes all understanding, the peace of the Lord. And one does not find happiness outside of the way of Christ. Clunky translations aside, makarios (blessed) does connote happiness.
But peace and happiness are hard to come by. Lutherans, please don’t attack. I don’t mean that our Lord does not freely and generously give all blessings. He is in fact the “Treasury of good things.” What I mean is that we do not ask for, use or keep those blessing He generously gives. For this we pray for mercy and the will to arise from our indolence and seek His face. And as Providence has it, this is the very thing our Lord would have us do.