Advent: Erin's Wish List

written on 14 December 2021 by Erin Iwata

Like many evangelicals, I didn’t grow up writing Christmas lists to Santa. While some families used fear based language like “Santa and Satan are just one letter apart” my family just didn’t mention it. We did the stockings, we strung the lights, we unwrapped the presents, we just included and incorporated more advent based stories, candle-lit worship services, and reflections on the birth of Christ. Santa wasn’t bad, he just wasn’t the point.

Meanwhile, “name it and claim it” raged through Western Christianity as people requested anything “in God’s Name” with the belief that faith alone would grant their wishes; not dissimilar to manifesting in secular circles. While both Christmas lists, our prayer requests, and “manifesting” all can have a root in our own selfishness, there is deep value in considering what we want. What we really want. Both as individuals and as a people. What do I want for us -all of us?
Jesus may not have been born in December, and there is surely not a toy shop skidding on thinning ice on the top of the world. However, this time of year is a time for reflecting, setting our intention, and looking back on what has happened, and forward towards hope.

With that in mind, this is my Christmas list:

This Christmas I want rest.
It has been a year of life altering change in my personal life (hello intercontinental move) but also in the world. The only certainty seems to be uncertainty and the likelihood of a new variant keeping us on our toes. I want space to get comfortable with the inevitable uncertainty, and center. I want a time when I feel deeply restored, and ready to take on whatever is next.

This Christmas I want hope.
Hope for a new tomorrow -hope that it does get better. Where we are today is only a building process -even if we are in a deconstruction phase. I want to look back on all the revolutions, revelations, and reformations before, and hope that this too is part of the great upheaval to heaven.

This Christmas I want faith.
Restored faith in one another. I want to believe in my fellow humans, and trust that we are better together than apart. I want to be motivated by trust, not suspicion, and know I will be met with the same generosity.

This Christmas I want expansion.
I don’t want to live in an echo chamber of my own ideas. I want to be challenged to see outside of my tiny world view. I want conversations that are free of contention but full of contradiction. Even if it is uncomfortable, I want to be pushed to see outside of myself.

This Christmas I want love.
Or rather, acceptance. I want to feel like I belong. I want to be known, and maybe I want to know myself better. I want a sense of space that goes beyond my circumstance and interactions that affirm that I am valuable.

This Christmas I want community.
As I look over my list, it seems none of these things is possible alone. Even rest is unnecessary without rising towards the chaos of the community. I miss gathering. I miss the resonance in my body as strangers singing together. I miss the messy, beautiful, in-person collaboration. I miss hugs. I miss falling in love all over again as you get to know a new friend, or seeing an old friend in a wondrous new light. I miss the silly rituals that drew us together even on days we didn’t feel like it, but found ourselves in unexpected conversations that made it worth it.
A wise friend sent me away from the Netherlands saying, “find your tribe.” I hope we can all find each other.

I also wouldn’t mind the ability to teleport and a cozy tiny house in the woods.

Erin