Thursday, December 23, 2010

My 2011 Christmas Wish List (Dialogue column 12.21.10)

(This piece was originally written for The Dialogue, the newsletter of the church where I serve, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of St. Joseph, MO.)

In last week’s Dialogue I took a look at my Christmas wishes for 2010; some came true and some did not. Here’s what I wish for in 2011 (we’ll check back in on them next December):

A Better Economy—This Christmas it is heartbreaking to talk with people out of work, to learn of charities dependent upon holiday donations struggling and to read about cutbacks for programs that help “the least of these.” I wish for better economic news in 2011.

Financial Stability at FCC—Speaking of money, I wish that our church could reach a place of financial stabil-ity in terms of its annual operating budget. We have been blessed by estate gifts that are helping us in the short-term, but financial gifts from members continue to drop. I wish for our finances to be stable so we can do the work God wishes us to do as a church.

No Celebrity Cell Phone Pics—I don’t care if you’re Brett Favre or a mistress of Tiger Woods, I wish for a year where I don’t have to hear about anyone getting in trouble for taking a picture of a body part with their cell phone and sending it to someone else. In this case, technology is not our friend. (This wish also counts for non-celebrities.)

Play the Christmas Victim Card and Pay Up—I wish for every person who complains about the so-called “war on Christmas” to quit pretending you’re a victim and go out and make Christmas better. I want a new rule that says if you complain about someone saying, “Happy Holidays’ rather than “Merry Christmas” then you have to make a donation to the nearest Salvation Army kettle.

More Children at FCC—On Dec. 14 at First Christian we had a stage packed with kids performing a Christ-mas program and standing room only to watch them. I heard from many people how good it is to have children again at our church! I share the sentiment and wish for more in 2011.

Chiefs in the Second Round of Playoffs—I know it could still happen this season, but as a long-time Chiefs fan I have to temper my expectations. Last year I just wished for the Chiefs to have a winning season, little did I know that playoffs were a real possibility. So, next year I’m wishing for them to make it past the first round of the playoffs—who knows maybe they’ll exceed my expectations again?

Long-Term Thinking in St. Joe—I wish for a year where the majority of people in St. Joseph think about what is best in the long-term for the community rather than what is best in the short term for their wallets. If our town is going to face the challenges of poverty, crime, unemployment, hunger, etc., investments have to be made in things like schools and libraries.

New Missions at FCC—I wish for new ministries for our church. Over the past year, I’ve heard discussions about an adult mission trip, selling fair trade items to help people in developing countries and after school pro-grams for low-income kids. I wish for these dreams and more to become reality in the life of our church.

No Burning of Holy Books—I wish for 2011 to be a year where nut job fringe elements of whatever belief sys-tem fail to get free publicity for staging a book burning of their “enemies’” holy books.

Same Time Next Year-- I hope that next Christmas I am still here doing a job that I love, serving a community of faithful and wonderful people here at First Christian Church of St. Joseph.

Grace and Peace,

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