A few years back, the wife of a former pastor of mine uttered these words to a group of us at the church. I’ve never forgotten them, or the intent behind them. What an exhortation. Never lose the wonder.
I have recently found myself in a bit of a rant over those who are trying to incrementally remove Jesus from the meaning of Christmas, and ultimately, from our country. In doing so, and in firing up those like minded folks who have joined me in hoisting our virtual torches and pitchforks while storming the castle of the virtual mad scientists behind it all, I think it’s important for us to make sure we keep Christ as the center of our own hearts.
In my passion to keep Christ in Christmas, I have to be mindful that Jesus doesn’t need to be defended. Not by me, or anybody. I want to be sure that, in my own heart, I don’t begin to inch my way over the line between defending my freedom and some misguided defense of my God. One follower of Jesus learned this lesson shortly after de-earing a man sent to capture the Lord and bring Him to the high priest.
I will continue to stand up to defend the fact that Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus. But not to be lost in all this is the wonder of the miracle, the majesty of The Messiah’s physical entry into our world. In a fitting manner, the birth of Jesus wasn’t comfortable or convenient. Also fittingly, it came when most people were oblivious to the significance of what was happening just outside in the smelly, out-of-sight-out-of-mind stable. The town was packed. There was no room in the inn for Jesus, and no room in the hearts of those who were too busy going about their business.
From the very beginning, Jesus has been cast aside by the hustle and bustle of busy lives. Today is no different. But there are a great many of us who have welcomed Jesus into the manger of our own hearts. For many of us, our personal Christmas didn’t come on December 25th. My spiritual Christmas came on April 12, 1983. Unfortunately, there have been many days since in which I have relegated The Savior to my life’s garage. I’ve allowed myself to be so consumed with other things that I’ve not made a comfortable, suitable home for my King.
As I consider my life and the things which fill it, I remember those words. Never lose the wonder. No good deed I could ever complete would justify keeping Emmanuel out in the cold. I get a thrill when I see snow-covered mountains on the horizon. I gasp in awe when I see a beautiful sunset. My heart leaps when I see someone I love. That’s the wonder. How much more does Jesus deserve? While I love all the festivities surrounding Christmas, and while I know and honor the meaning of it, I don’t want to spend more time focusing on all the distractions than on meditating on The Wonder of it all.
I urge you to take time each day and reflect on The Wonder of Christmas. Meditate on The Wonder of God that He would leave His throne to walk among us, knowing full well that in doing so, He would pay a price He didn’t owe so that we might spend eternity in His presence. He loves you so much that He would do that so He could forever be with you. No one has ever, or will ever love you like He does. Think about that. I mean really dwell on that! If that doesn’t stir up The Wonder, you’re dead on the inside.
For the next two weeks leading to Christmas, take some time each day to concentrate on God’s majesty and love for you. Despite all the terrible things we’ve done in our lives, despite our rejection of Him, despite our failures…He loves us. Once Christmas has come and gone, keep doing it! Never forget His love. Never forget His mercy. Never forget His grace, His sacrifice or His majestic glory.
Never lose the wonder!