Ambition is good right? It is about drive, goals and focus. It helps us get where we need to go. After all, how are we going to know if we have arrived if we never set a destination in the first place? For many Asian kids, ambition is a huge thing. They are told by their parents that they can be anything they want to be when they grow up, that is, as long as it is either lawyer, accountant, doctor or engineer. Pick one, the freedom to choose is yours. We may laugh, but for many, this is a reality!
Could we be focusing on the wrong thing? Four years ago, The Atlantic published an article questioning the value of ambition over relationships. “Ambition drives people forward; relationships and community, by imposing limits, hold people back. Which is more important?” asked Emily Esfahani Smith. Many it seems, choose one over the other. But one of those choices seems to satisfaction in life, while the other does not.
Here are some thoughts as we prepare for Christmas. Many of us want it to be perfect, but why? Is it because we think it is a reflection of who we are? Could we be worried by what other people think of us? Is our self esteem dependent on how others perceive us (or how we think they do)? For some reason, we seem to like other people thinking we are perfect (even though we aren’t) or have it all together (even though we don’t). Are we pursuing our goal for the perfect Christmas at any cost? Are damaged relationships worth our perfect Christmas?
For followers of Jesus, we are firstly reminded that our identity should be in Christ (Galatians 2:20). We are also reminded that Christmas is about God sending his Son as a gift to humanity. Why did Jesus have to come? To restore relationships between God and humanity but also between all people (2 Corinthians 5:18, John 13:34).
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled.