A Hurting Parent’s Christmas Wish List

by | Dec 11, 2023 | holidays


photo cred. Mike Arney on unsplash

As the hurting parent of a daughter who wrestled with substance use, self-injury, mental illness, and suicidal tendencies, my Christmas wish list was short. If you’re a hurting parent, yours probably is too. 

If we could travel back in time and become children again, we’d climb on Santa’s lap and whisper a different kind of wish list in his ear. We wouldn’t ask for jewelry, or clothes, or the latest techy gadget.

Material things mean nothing when you’re brokenhearted over one of your children.

You’ll never be the same. The holidays aren’t the same, either.

What do you really want for Christmas?

Nothing money can buy.

All I want for Christmas is:

1) A do-over for my child.

photo cred. pixabay

To have the power to turn back the clock, erasing all the trauma and damage they’ve experienced. To wipe away every terrifying memory. To make their internal and external scars disappear, including the ones in my own heart.

2) Complete healing for my child: physical, emotional, and spiritual. No more addiction, mental health challenges, or broken relationships–with others or with their Maker.

3) A spiritual awakening for my child that can’t be quenched or dampened by anything or anyone; one that will last for the rest of their life.

4) For my child to embrace the dreams their heavenly Father has for them. Purpose for their pain and a compelling reason to live, no matter what trials they may face in the future.

5) A protective covering over my child to shield them from the destructive plans and schemes of the Evil One.

6) The peace of Christ in my own heart to accept whatever may happen.

7) Invincible faith that believes as long as my child is still breathing there is still hope.

8) Strength to persevere and not grow weary or give up . . . for both of us.

Too Old For Santa, but . . .

I’m too old and too big to sit on Santa’s lap these days, but through prayer I can climb on God’s lap anytime I want.

I don’t have to pay anything, go to the mall, or wait in a long line to tell him what I want.

I can bring my heart’s desires to God whenever I’m ready.



God will give me His unhurried, undivided attention – and as much time as I need.

His heart is full of compassion and empathy.

I’m never too old or too big for that.

The Hard Part

photo cred. Levi Meir Clancy on Unsplash

Next comes the hard part — waiting and trusting.

Like a child who overflows with anticipation on Christmas morning, to wait is difficult. Excruciating. But when I remember how much God loves me – and my child – with a perfect, never-ending love, I’m more confident that I can trust his timing. It’s perfect.

Any delay God allows isn’t because He’s cruel or angry. His delays accomplish a good result. They grow and change me, though I dislike the process.

I think I’ll write my wish list today and put it in my God Box. Do you have a God Box? I’ll tell you more about this in my next post.

Reading Philippians 4:6-7 has always helped me when waiting was hard. I hope those verses will help you as you read them:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition (our personal requests), with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Let’s Pray: Dear God, there’s a lot we could put on our Christmas wish list. If we wrote them all down, our wishes would fill the pages of a long book. Please show us how to give our desires to You. Fill us with the courage to wait on Your timing. Help us trust You with what we don’t understand. Remind us this Christmas how much You love us and our children — enough to exchange Your glory for a manger to prove it. You came into our world to die so that we could fully live. This is our real comfort. This is our true joy. In the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Amen.

Recommended Resource

90 Days of God’s Goodness by Randy Alcorn

**This is a re-post from the archives.