Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I wonder as I wander out under the sky
How Jesus the Savior did come for to die

For poor on'ry people like you and like I;
I wonder as I wander out under the sky
~John Jacob Niles

Perhaps the greatest loss we experience as we move from childhood into adult is losing our sense of wonder. Children are full of wonder. As children, our lives are naturally alert to the surprises, pleasures and beauty of life pulsating all around us. Children are quick to take delight in little things, like shiny stones along a river bank or the winter thrill of snowflakes.
Socrates claimed, “The beginning of wisdom is wonder.” Months after returning from hiking in Olympic National Park each eary, I’ve feasted richly upon the sounds and sights of that week of wonder.
Wonder most often comes as a surprise. We wander into it unknowing. We gaze and gaze attempting to take in the sight of glory. Our words fall short; yet, our hearts well up with an inner sense of wonder. Thus, wonder is a twice blessed gift, giving delight in our first encounter with such fullness; and once again as we look with that inward eye, as Wordsworth wrote, ‘which is the bliss of solitude’. As we take time to reflect upon the vision of wonder, our hearts fill once again with pleasure and we discover ourselves dancing ‘with the daffodils’.
For many, the month of December, and the season of Advent. are times reminding of us of childlike wonder. As we celebrate the coming of Christ, our home begins to fill with those delights which come out only once a year.
During Christmas, we expect the unexpected. We become children once again. We take time to wonder. In our return to childhood, we share together the delight of wonder. We look up into the clear December sky and think of that Bethlehem star that once led wise men to the place of wonder. There, they laid down their gifts before the Christ child, kneeling to worship and honor the child who would be King.
When Mary birthed Jesus 'twas in a cow's stall
With wise men and farmers and shepherds and all
But high from God's heaven, a star's light did fall
And the promise of ages it then did recall.
On Christmas eve, we gather together, joined by a common sense of wonder at God’s generosity. We sing carols celebrating the coming of God into our darkened world to save ‘poor on’ry people, like you and like I’. Too often, we’ve given up our innocence, trading in our childhood wonder for electronic entertainment or trivialities.
How can we return? How can we find our way back to that five year old age of innocence where we might once again take delight in rain drops falling on our faces? We can travel together to that place of wonder. The way is illuminated by poetry and song. Sing together those lovely Christmas carols, even in July as you wander through a natural cathedral of ancient trees and allow your heart to wonder as you wander out under the sky.

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