Do you remember the Sears Wish Book? That was the catalog that the Sears & Roebuck co. put out at Christmas time and most children that I know used it as their defacto Christmas list. Just flip through those wonderful pages (which contained everything!) and circle what you wished for, right?
I live in the Ponce city market building in Atlanta and this building was the Sears regional distribution center. Because the property owners like the historic connection (nostalgia makes us spend $), they displayed a giant replica of the 1968 cover for the Wish Book.
But it has occurred to me that we don't wish as much these days. We want, we desire, we crave and we covet, but those things have become much more immediate and what we want - we want it now. We often simply take it. Or we consume whatever is close at hand, albeit time, money or even people, by being a relational "taker".
Wishing is connected to the future. Wishing contains the elements of hope and faith. As humans, we alone have the capacity to dream of a reality that does not exist and then move towards making it real. We hope for a better future because we believe that it is possible. We have faith in others because we believe in them and what they can become. The problem is that not all of our wishes come true. Sometimes the future we hope for doesn't become a reality. Sometimes we are betrayed by the people or the ideas that we had faith in.
Sadly, our solution is to often scale back our sense of hope...to limit the amount of faith we have in others or even in God. We shrink our vision of the future into something we can manage or control.
Wishing takes a person outside of the realm of probable and into the world of possibility. Wishing takes us into a dangerous place because we risk not getting what we want. We risk being betrayed or hurt but those we allow into our lives. It may seem ironic, but this is where we are most alive!
But why would someone do that? Why would they dare to wish and be disappointed? Why would they risk intimacy and the exposure to being betrayed? I'd like to continue that conversation with you in the next blog post. But for now, and for this Christmas season, why don't you just pretend for a few minutes and think about a future that you would hope for. Perhaps you might even write it down.
What do you wish for?