Keith Wishum: Get what you want for Christmas
Published 2:22 pm Saturday, December 23, 2017
I got what I wanted for Christmas!
More years ago than I care to calculate, way back when I was 8 or so, back in the B.C. era (before computers), I wanted a special toy for Christmas. Wanted is too weak. I craved. I coveted. I had to have a Johnny 7 gun.
The 7 was the ultimate imaginary killing machine. It fired seven different ways — single shot, machine gun, rocket launcher, grenade thrower, and others I have long forgotten. Not only did the 7 make awesome noises, it came with projectiles that it really fired. What more could a boy want?
Long before Christmas, I hinted. I begged. I pleaded. I despaired. Knowing that my parents were highly practical people, I had little hope of ever holding a 7 in my hands. A bike, you could ride to school. But what real use is an expensive plastic assault weapon? Yet, on Christmas morning, I got what I wanted! A real toy Johnny 7, right there in my living room! Just what I wanted!
It was what I wanted, but only for a little while. The Johnny 7 soon bombed. Sure, it made great noises, but the white bullets were soon lost in the shrubbery. The grenades landed on the roof. The machine gun attachment broke, and the gun was too big and bulky to carry easily. Within days, I had reverted to using sticks for guns. The 7 was shot.
I learned from the 7 experience. I discovered that toys of this world are really not worth very much. They are feeble and fleeting. I also discovered that, without doubt, I was loved. Nothing else could explain why the hard-labor children of sharecroppers would spend scarce cash on a silly toy they knew I would soon discard.
If we approach Christmas (or any other time) hoping for happiness in a new toy, we will be disappointed. But we may be delighted if we look for and, more importantly, give love. It is not what lies under the tree that brings joy. It is what lies in the hearts closest to you. And in your own.
“For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). It is what you cannot see that matters.
Look for it. See it in others. Give to them. That way, you can get what you want for Christmas every year — and even every day.
Keith Wishum is minister, Williams Road of Church, Americus.