Asking for what we need is important. Asking for what we want is a Christmas tradition. From the very best Christmas specials, It's a Wonderful Life, and Miracle on 34th Street, we are encouraged to ask and ask big - I mean, a House! Really? Yes, Virginia, really. Go for it! Live Big! Dream Big! It's Christmas! It's the season of Miracles! The new Lexus in the driveway - it happens! All those dreams being dreamed right now, being fulfilled by little elves, from the jewelers at Tiffany's to the Toys-R-Us stock room people. Dream and keep the dream alive! Write the list and make it a long one! What would your fantasy list look like, if money and time were no object? Go ahead, write it!
Even so, we temper our wants and our desires. My children are not asking for much. My husband and I are not exchanging gifts this year, so no lists. Our lists to Santa have evolved into those grownup Christmas lists, so beautifully sung about in the song by the same name. No more lives torn apart, that wars would never start... My list certainly echoes those same sentiments. A little peace on earth, a quiet day on the news... I don't think it is too much to ask. But I sometimes wonder if what I am asking is too much.
Don't misread this. I have to ask for certain things. I have to ask for kids to make their beds and do their chores. I have to ask for help. I have to ask for advice from friends. But when is what I ask for just too much. Really, I suppose it's not the asking, it's the wanting. Do I want too much? Do I tell myself that these are needs that I don't really need? Are my grown-up wants just like the toddler having a temper tantrum in the toy store? I don't know. What do I need? What do I want? What's the difference? The hard part is, What do I want from other people? A little love, a little affection, a little attention, a little recognition. Is that too much to ask? What do I want from my children? Good grades, happy smiles, requests fulfilled, rules obeyed. Is it too much to ask? And other relationships... what do I ask that is too much. Even what I ask from myself - the perfect meal, being on time for appointments (a real bad habit of mine), remembering all the things I am supposed to remember. Sometimes I have to go gently and remember that I am human too. And sometimes everything is just too much.
Why do I keep asking? Why do we keep expecting these things, from our family and friends, and from ourselves? We do this because we believe. Not just in Christmas or Santa or Elves, but in Hope. We believe that we can have our dreams fulfilled and our hearts filled, at least on Christmas Day, if not the whole year through. So, I'm going to keep asking. I'm going to keep the list going, all those simple things that I want. I'm going to keep hoping and wishing and dreaming for my very own Christmas list. But I won't be disappointed either. And I won't have a temper tantrum when I don't get what I want. I'll smile and hope again next year. And maybe make a better list.