Wonder in a child's eyes is a spectacular sight. The open amazement and awe is so very beautiful to behold. In fact, one of my Christmas joys is to see our children experience the wonder of their gifts. I look to see if they 'really like' their gifts; I look to see the wonder in their eyes. And I know immediately if we have slightly missed the mark for the look of appreciation is so very different from the look of wonder or awe. And today, even with our grown children I want them to experience wonder! Perhaps they are too old now. Perhaps wonder is a child-only event. In fact, in looking for a picture to express 'wonder' for this writing, I struggled. And it perplexed me that all the pictures labeled as 'Christmas wonder' were of children. I could not find one single picture of an adult expressing wonder. Why is that? Are we so mature, so hard-hearted, so immune that our wonder has vanished?
Do you feel wonder in your life? Will you feel wonder on Christmas Eve at your church service or on Christmas Day as you formally celebrate Christ being born into our world?
I daresay that we've lost our wonder. Michael Yacconelli in his book Dangerous Wonder, said "the most critical issue facing Christians today is dullness. ‘We have lost our astonishment. The Good News is no longer good news, it is okay news. Christianity is no longer life changing, it is life enhancing. Jesus doesn’t change people into wild-eyed radicals anymore, He changes them into ‘nice people’. But radical Christianity wasn’t nice; it was category-smashing, life-threatening, anti-institutional; it spread like wildfire through the 1st century and was considered by those in power to be dangerous. ‘I want to be filled with an astonishment which is so captivating that I am considered wild and unpredictable and ... well ... dangerous’. I want to be dangerous to a dull and boring religion. I want a faith that is considered dangerous by our predictable and monotonous culture.’
We've somehow lost the wonder of Christmas. We've lost the wonder of what we celebrate! We have embraced Baby Jesus coming into the world but have we let him remain as a baby in our hearts and minds? Yes, He came humbly, He came quietly, He came in human form - all so that we could somehow begin to comprehend Him and welcome Him into our lives and hearts. BUT....we cannot keep Him in the manger. Our wonder today rests solely on who He is today, was yesterday and will be tomorrow. And who is He?
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will [a]rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
He is our Wonderful Counselor. He is our Mighty God. He is our Eternal Father. He is the Prince of Peace. These are not just words from 2700 years ago. These are the personal qualities of the Christian God. I ponder today whether I've sold him short? That's right, have we sold God short? To sell short = to underestimate the true value or worth of something or someone. Is your God still in a manger scene? Has your God been defeated and destroyed amidst all the chaos in the world today? In those dark, lonely moments have you forgotten that He is your Counselor? Did you leave Him at your church last week, last month, last year?
The God I strive to serve IS the Counselor. He IS a mighty God. He IS eternal. He IS Prince and King of Peace. And you what else, He's waiting to see me on Christmas morning. He waiting to see if my eyes behold wonder as I open my gift from Him. Just like us parents, he too desperately wants to see the wonder in our eyes. He waits to see if we truly have wonder in our eyes on Christmas morning!
We may offer Him the look of appreciation but it's WONDER He wants! And it is wonder we desperately desire.