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Tony Rossi

Radio Host/Producer

What God Wants for Christmas

A couple of years ago, I was watching the Christmas tree lighting at Rockefeller Center on TV when country singer Darius Rucker performed a song off his album “Home for the Holidays.” It wasn’t a Christmas standard or classic hymn, but a brand new piece of music. And what a piece of music! The title is “What God Wants for Christmas,” and I was surprised that a popular, secular singer would share such a God-centered message in song, even if it was the Christmas season.

The first chorus asks, “I wonder what God wants for Christmas, Something that you can’t find in a store. Maybe peace on Earth, no more empty seats in church, Might be what’s on His wish list.”

Then it continues, “What do you give someone Who gave His only Son? What if we believe in Him like He believes in us? I wonder what God wants for Christmas, What might put a smile on His face. Every Bible with no dust, the devil givin’ up, Might be what’s on His wish list.” 

The song’s final line states, “By now we ought to know what God wants for Christmas.” And, of course, Rucker is right. It was spelled out by the angels who declared, “Glory to God in the highest” and told us to live with each other in peace and good will. Or, as Jesus responds in Matthew 22 when asked which is the greatest commandment, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

It would be great if that song became a Christmas classic because it gives us food for thought during this holy season when it’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of everything that needs to be done. Another story I read offers the same.

On her blog, Catholic author Danielle Bean recalled a favorite Christmas memory about Monsignor Leo, an elderly priest who served as pastor of a parish to which she belonged. He was especially popular with people at that time of year because he would always end his first Christmas mass by singing “O Holy Night” a cappella and without a microphone.

“Here was one man’s simple expression of a great love he felt in his heart,” wrote Bean. “Here was one man giving all of himself to God. God made him to sing, and so he sang. For God alone. With all that he had.”

The simplicity of that expression of love resonated with Bean. She said, “At Christmas, many of us feel pressured to do great things. We can’t send out just any card; we can’t give just any gift...Thankfully, the kind of greatness God asks of us is not as complicated as we sometimes make it ourselves. The kind of greatness God demands has nothing to do with ribbons or wrapping, packages or presents. The kind of greatness Christ seeks comes from small, ordinary things done with great love.”

So in addition to Christmas shopping for your loved ones this year, take some time out to ask yourself what God wants for Christmas and how we can better live out the type of greatness to which He calls us. The answers you find might be more valuable than anything that’s under your tree.