All I Want for Christmas: A Hurting Parent’s Christmas Wish List

Dena YoheBy Dena Yohe8 Minutes

“I don’t want anything for Christmas! I could care less about celebrating.”

For a long time, my daughter had problems with substance use, mental illness, and suicidal ideation. Weary, my Christmas wish list was short that year. Apathetic, my only desire was to ignore the whole month of December. If you’re a hurting parent, you understand.

Young children love going to the local mall for a visit with Santa Claus. They’re eager to tell him about the latest toys and gadgets they want for Christmas. Parents dress them in their holiday finest. Paying the fee for a photo, they wait in line and hope for a frame-worthy memory. 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. However, we wouldn’t ask for jewelry, clothes, or the latest techy gadget.

Material possessions mean nothing when you’re brokenhearted over a son or daughter. You’ll never be the same. The holidays aren’t the same for you, either.

What does a hurting parent want for Christmas? What’s on their wish list? Nothing money can buy.

All I Want for Christmas

1) A do-over for my child. 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. Every wound healed. No more addiction, mental health challenges, or wrecked 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. Radical transformation that infuses them with hope and peace.

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 for me and my child to persevere and not grow weary or give up.

What’s on your wish list?

I’m 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. He welcomes me to whisper my wishes in His ear.

I don’t have to get dressed up, go to the mall, pay a fee, or wait in line to tell Him what I want. I can bring my heart’s desires to God whenever I’m ready.



He’ll 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

After I climb on God’s lap and tell Him my wish list, then comes the hard part — waiting and trusting.

Like children who overflow with anticipation on Christmas Eve, waiting is difficult. Excruciating. But when I remember how God much loves me, I’m encouraged to trust His perfect timing.

Any delay He allows isn’t out of cruelty or anger. His postponements always accomplish a good result. Although I dislike the process, waiting helps me grow and change. But I still worry and fret.

I think I’ll write out my Christmas wish list today and put it in my God Box. Do you have one? Using mine has helped me cope with my fears and worries, especially during the holidays.

Here’s how to use a God Box*

Take a small box, put a notepad and pen inside or nearby. Write on top: My God Box. Be as creative as you like. When you realize you’re worried or fearful about your child, pull out the box. Write out what’s on your mind on a page in the notepad. Tear out the page, fold it and tuck it inside the box. Use a new sheet of paper for each worry that comes to mind. When you’re finished, put the box away. Choose a safe place: on an upper shelf in your closet, in a drawer, or under your bed.

Placing the paper(s) in the box and putting it away symbolizes surrendering your worries to God. This simple practice can have helpful results as you learn to give your hopes and dreams for your child to their Creator.

Why not write out your Christmas wish list today and start using a God Box this week?

If the holidays will be hard for you this year and your wish list is long, Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) can help. Those wishes are the prayers of your heart. He wants you to bring them all to Him. He promises to give you His peace in return.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, 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 I could put on my Christmas wish list. If I wrote out all the hopes and cares I have for my child I could fill a massive book. Please show me how to give them all to You. Fill me with the courage to wait on Your timing. Help me trust You with what I don’t understand. Remind me this Christmas how much You love me and my child — enough to exchange Your glory for a manger. You came into this world to die so that I could fully live. This is my real comfort. This is my true joy. In the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Amen.

*The idea of using a God Box is from a twelve-step program.