By Jeanne Johnson
Wonderful. That which excites or calls forth wonder. I love that description. What calls forth wonder, awe, marvel, the miraculous? Can we lose our wonder? How can we redeem our wonder? More specifically, how can we redeem our wonder during the holidays?
If you’ve ever stood and gazed at a beautiful sunrise or sunset, you’ve felt wonder. How amazingly awesome is God’s creation.
“They who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs; You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy.” (Psalm 65:8) Wonder!
If you’ve ever sensed the holy presence of God, wherever or whenever that might have been, you’ve felt wonder.
“The captain of the LORD’S host said to Joshua, ‘Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.’ And Joshua did so.” (Joshua 5:15) Wonder!
If you’ve ever experienced, seen or heard of miraculous healing, you’ve felt wonder.
[After Jesus cleansed a leper and healed a paralytic that appeared before Him from the rooftop], “. . . amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, ‘We have seen extraordinary things today.’” (Luke 5:26) Wonder!
I love experiencing wonder in the littlest of things: a parking space when I’m exhausted, a kind word when it wasn’t warranted, an answer to an unspoken prayer, a conversation with a child that helps me see something in a brand-new way.
What can we do to redeem our wonder, not just at Christmastime, but all throughout the year?
For me, when I take time to be with Jesus, I am more often able to experience wonder regularly. Recently, I spent all day preparing for family to visit. I cleaned, baked, shopped, etc. At the end of the day I was exhausted, but I pushed through that and went to church. I’m so thankful that I didn’t give in to the tiredness because God met me there that night, revealing His awesomeness through the sermon about His birth, life, death and resurrection through the angels’ eyes. I was so overcome with wonder that I had tears streaming down my face. The wonder of the Christ-child born as God had ordained from the beginning, for my sins. Wonder!
Earlier this week, I got groceries in preparation for the holidays. As I was placing my items on the conveyor, I noticed that the woman behind me had just two loaves of bread. I had her go ahead of me. As she was checking out, another woman with just a container of salad got in my line. I invited her to go ahead of me as well. Those two ladies and the clerk spoke about my kindness, but I looked at it as an opportunity to simply show them God’s love. This simple act caused them to wonder about the kindness of a stranger, but it caused me to wonder about God’s kindness and grace in my life, albeit undeserved, and how I might be an example of His wonder toward others.
Though these are two examples, I have had many failures in following through and being obedient to God’s promptings this Christmas. The thing is, I’m the one who misses out when I’m lazy or tired, or just plain disobedient to what He’s asking me to do. And yet, even those times give me opportunities to wonder anew at God’s amazing grace through Jesus towards me.
What are some ways you’ve experienced the wonder of God this Christmas season?
What are some things you’ve done to encourage that sense of God’s wonder in your life or other’s lives during the holidays?
Are there some things you might want to change during this new year that will help you understand more about God and perhaps experience wonder more often?
Dear Father, I want to be “wide-eyed, mystified, may I be just like a child, staring at the beauty of my King. You are beautiful in all your ways. May we never lose our wonder.” In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
May you continue to experience the wonder of God during the rest of the holidays and throughout the New Year!