It’s officially December!
Nearly everywhere you go Christmas music is playing. One of the songs we hear is written by Jim Reeves and begins with the line, “C is for the Christ Child”. It goes on from there to spell out the word Christmas with each letter standing for some part of the Christmas story. Most of you know it.
There are many “C” words associated with Christmas also. Words like carols, cards, cookies, candy canes, cranberries, chestnuts, chimney, crèche, and candles quickly come to mind. Another word that is featured prominently is children. Perhaps we think of children since we celebrate the birth of a baby, a child. Perhaps we think of them as well since so much advertising relates to gifts they might want to receive.
Whatever the original reason might be, one of the gifts children give us at this season is often the gift of wonder. Etched in my memory is the first Christmas each of my children and grandchildren experienced. They were fascinated with the lights, a tree appearing in the living room, and so much more. They didn’t need to be concerned about decorating or making all the trappings we associate with the day. They could simply be delighted in the new experiences and the wonder of it all.
As we grow up there are still special things we associate with the Christmas season. We grow in a deeper understanding of who we are celebrating, but subtly we can lose the wonder of that first Christmas. The tasks of Christmas erode the wonder we first knew.
What is wonder? The dictionary describes it as “a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable”.
Maybe the trappings of Christmas have become too familiar. We may enjoy the candles, the twinkling lights, and all the trimmings, but we have too often lost our awe of them.
We associate the things connected with Christmas with what we must do to make them happen. We may complain about putting up lights and trees, shopping for gifts and wrapping them, baking and making all the treats we want to have. It can sound like Christmas is a chore.
When we were children, we received all of Christmas as a gift. It cost us nothing.
So often Jesus tells us in scripture that we need to become like children to truly understand His Kingdom. There was a cost for Him and the Father in Christmas. Jesus left the wonders of heaven with a clear eye to the cross He would face.
What a mind-blowing thing! What an amazing gift!
Could He hope we would become like children so that we would also see, behold, and wonder at such a love and sacrifice?
Our deeper understanding of Christmas ought to remind us of words like caring, compassion, consideration, Christlikeness, courage, commitment, and more. It should also bring us back to the truth.
God didn’t have to send Jesus to give us a 3-D living example of His love and what He wanted us to know about Him. He didn’t need to give us a chance to be reconciled to Him. God didn’t need to choose to send Jesus as a child born in a humble stable.
How confounding that was! How wondrous and unexpected that was!
No matter how old you are or how many Christmases you have celebrated, I think He wants you to know the wonder of His gift, His love all over again this year.
As the days of this month swiftly move ahead and the lists of things to do grow longer, don’t forget the wonder of Christmas, the wonder of the Christ Child, the wonder of God’s amazing love gift.
The glory of Christmas is a wonder! It has always been amazing, unexpected, beautiful, unfamiliar, and inexplicable!