Whether you are reading this before Christmas or during the 12 Days of Christmas following Dec. 25, I wish you a “wonder-full” Christmas. Or perhaps I should say “A Christmas Full of Wonder.”
After all, God in all his mystery, or “wonder,” came into the world in the form of a little baby to teach humankind how to live and love. And just think how he did it: through a peasant girl in an unknown town, to save humankind for all eternity. A “wonder-full” mystery indeed.
I experienced some of this wonderfulness the week before Christmas when my wife and I attended a teacher, staff and spouses Christmas party for the elementary school where she teaches first grade. Two teachers have new babies born within the past three months. What a joy to see these two precious little children, with eyes full of wonder, looking at all the strange people and bright lights. In a way, they were viewing something they had never seen before, and their minds probably wondered, “What does this all mean?”
That’s the question we ask when we consider the mystery of God choosing 14-year-old Mary to birth his Son into his creation. “What does it all mean?”
We should be awe-struck and it should fill us with wonder every time we think about it. But a large part of our society has become jaded to the mystery of Christmas. The birth of the Son into the world doesn’t cause many to marvel at God’s amazing act of love. The prophet Isaiah called this lack of wonder “darkness,” and prophesized that a child would be born who would push back the darkness. The Gospel of John says that Baby Jesus is the one Isaiah was talking about. Jesus came to be the light of the world.
If we pause to consider the wonder of Christmas, we can see the light and love of Jesus revealed through one person’s caring for another. I saw it on the faces of people who interacted with the two babies at the Christmas party. I think of the woman from our church who rang a bell for the Salvation Army and the joy she felt seeing the generosity of people first-hand. And I think of the ladies of our church sharing fruit and homemade cookies to very appreciative elderly members of our community. The joy of the season, the mystery of Christ’s birth, the wonder of it all…. It’s just wonder-full!”
Whether you have given or have received this Christmas season; whether you will give or receive in the coming New Year, I wish you a merry, wonder-full Christmas, and a happy new year!
Rick Carpenter is the pastor at the United Methodist Church in Dolores and First United Methodist Church in Dove Creek.