Christmas was easy when I was a kid. I never understood the phrase “just trying to get through the holidays.” Blasphemy. I wanted to soak up every second of Christmas and enjoy it to the fullest. Christmas meant parties at school and church, special cookie-baking days with my mom, fun shopping trips, presents, visiting family – what was not to love?! So magical for a child.
Even the true, holy reason for Christmas was magical for me. I read the account of Jesus’ birth, and it sank in. I had time to reflect on it, to wonder about it. I recognized how supernatural it was for God to be born a baby… in a stable. It was real and powerful to me.
It still is real and powerful to me, but it’s not as easy as it used to be. Soaking up the wonder of Christmas gets pushed aside. There’s hustle and bustle and finances and family and city-life and just the craziness of life in general. They meet me head-on every single morning, and it takes intentional, focused attention on God for me to push those things where they should be ~ in God’s hands.
When my worries and plans and dreams are in God’s hands, I can sit and reflect in wonder on what He did for me. I can be in awe that Jesus really was born miraculously to a virgin. That the One who has the power to give eternal life lived on earth as a vulnerable three-year old. That the King of all kings – the One who has always been and who always will be was a baby in diapers. Amazing. And so backwards! But that’s how God seems to roll:
I Corinthians 1:27 “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”
When I reflect on these things, on God’s master plan, that child-like wonder creeps back in. There’s a little chapter about wonder in Dr. David Jeremiahs’ book The Twelve Ways of Christmas. It’s my favorite chapter in the book, because it really draws me closer to that first Christmas night. Dr. Jeremiah says in his book,
What would you and I have thought if we had been there when the first Christmas took place? How many nights would we have sat up late talking about these events, trying to put two and two together? I can assure you we would have exhibited far more wonder than we do today.
Right? We are separated from the birth of the Savior but a couple thousand years. It wasn’t on a different planet or in a fictional TV show. It was real. When that sinks in, so does the wonder.