The Rolling Stones sang, “You can’t always get what you want . . . but if you try sometimes well you just might find you get what you need.” A lot of Advent is about naming what we want and, more importantly, becoming aware of what we need.
Wants and needs aren’t the same, of course, for what I truly need is on a deeper level than what I might want. I may want a comfortable home in a quiet neighborhood, but I can live without it. I can live without eating meat, but I can’t live very well without protein. I may want to be married but whether I’m married or single I definitely need relationships in which I can both give love and receive it.
In December, we often ask children, “What do you want Santa to bring you for Christmas?” In Advent the Church poses to us a deeper question: “What are the deep needs and longings of your life, which only God can fill?” Paying attention to these and presenting them to God is very important because, as St. Augustine and others tell us, frequently presenting our longings to God actually prepares us to receive God’s fulfillment of them.
In a few short weeks, we will celebrate the coming of God’s once and final answer to all human longings and desires — Christ. As we prepare to receive Christ with the joy and gratitude his coming deserves, let us be bold in presenting ourselves, our needs and our longings to God. We might indeed find that we will get what we need.