This week I was chatting with a young mum watching her two-year-old mesmerised by a small revolving Christmas tree. She was sadly anticipating the day when her child would grow up and lose her sense of ‘wonder’.
This conversation has made me think about the concept of ‘wonder’, that capacity for rapt awe and amazement. Of course, for children everything is new; wonder comes easily, while adults can become jaded by familiarity. Perhaps, that’s why so many are constantly seeking out fresh experiences and new thrills.
As we head for another Christmas amid Covid 19 uncertainties and restrictions, it’s an opportunity to marvel again and be gripped by the real reason for the season, and allow God to restore the joy of our salvation and even childlike wonder. There are many wonderful depths of truth and meaning in the simple story of the nativity, but these are the thoughts that are fueling my worship this Christmas.
His Wonderful Works
Christmas confirms to me again that God is in control. He has a plan – a big plan for the whole world, and he will move heaven and earth to accomplish it. Look how he orchestrated angels and wise men and even a star for the birth of Jesus, and how he led Caesar Augustus, emperor of the known world who himself was declared a son of god, to call a census that would take Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, fulfilling his Word (Micah 2:5)!
Though wars, famines and global catastrophes fill our news, we need not be alarmed, for we know these are the beginning of birth pains in preparation for Christ’s Second Coming (Matthew 24:8).
His Wonderful Ways
A manger? This seems so contrary to what Mary might have expected, she who was to give birth to the Son of the Most High, destined to reign (Luke 1:33)? How reassuring it must have been to hear from the shepherds that the manger was the angel’s sign to them. It’s not surprising that Mary treasured it in her heart as she reflected on God’s ways. We all want confirmation that we’re in God’s will, part of his plan, but we don’t expect it to come through disappointment, hardship and suffering – like a manger! It fills me with wonder that even when I don’t understand the twists and turns of my life, God sees me, knows all about me, and is never taken by surprise.
His Wonderful Name
He shall be called Immanuel – God with us (Isaiah 7:14). This is a truth we need to embrace this Christmas, especially if we are alone or isolating. God is with us! He is with you and with me, and his name is Wonderful Counsellor, to guide us with supernatural wisdom, Mighty God, strong for us who are weak, Everlasting Father, caring and providing for our needs, and he’s the Prince of Peace who brings us into right relationship with God and each other (Isaiah 9:6).
All this is possible because his name is Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). The older I get, the more self-aware, sin-aware I become, and the greater my felt need of a Saviour. The miracle of his love come down makes my capacity for wonder and an awe of God larger than ever.
Of course, we can’t live life in a constant state of amazement, but may we shun busyness, take time to reflect and have an openness of spirit to be surprised by joy when the wonder of Christmas breaks through.
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