Where is the wonder?
When was the last time you experienced a sense of wonder?
You know that feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable?
I know...it's kind of hard to experience wonder when you've just lost a precious loved one or are struggling with health issues. Real life things like loss, caregiving, broken lives, homes, and marriages, lost jobs and financial burdens leave us wondering rather than feeling a sense of wonder. Add in the busyness and pressures of the Christmas season and no wonder we just want it to be over! Awe and wonder? Not so much.
Let me see if I can list some things that you and I might be experiencing this Christmas.
Yeah...no...wonder doesn't go with this list, does it?
But wait a minute. The wonder of Christmas is that in the midst of our disappointment, hurt, devastation, despair, hopelessness, stress, loneliness, confusion and more God gives us His indescribable gift - JESUS. For God so loved the world - the broken, fallen, trouble-filled world - that He sent His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
A familiar verse and statement you've heard a hundred times, right? Okay, but hang in there with me for just a few more paragraphs because we need some wonder in our lives!
I just walked from our office into the kitchen for another cup of coffee. It's still pitch black outside and so not to disturb the rest of the house, I didn't turn on any lights. But, as I was slowly making my way through a very dark room and returning to the office with coffee in hand, the Christmas tree set on a timer came on. Hundreds of tiny white lights brightened the room and lit my way. What a beautiful picture of Jesus. You see, His presence brightens our lives and lights our way in the darkness of this world and troubles of this life.
Oh, let the wonder of that seep slowly into your soul.
Take just a minute longer and ponder something else with me. God didn't send Jesus to make us happy by taking away our troubles or healing us from all our afflictions. Jesus wasn't sent to remove or spare us from disappointment, hurt, devastation, hopelessness, stress, loneliness, and all the other wonder robbing emotions of living life in this world. But, where's the wonder in that, right?
But, listen up! God knows what we are experiencing. He sees the pain and suffering. He understands we are hopeless and helpless. So, guess what? He gives us Himself. Immanuel. God with us. The One who spoke all things into existence. God in the flesh. Jesus. There's the wonder.
God knows that our greatest need isn't to be saved from the troubles of this world but to save us from what causes us to be separated from Him and keeps us from being in right relationship with Him and having His presence in our lives. He knows that without Him we are hopeless, helpless and despairing because we are dead in our sins. Stuck in a dark room groping our way through life without Him. We need Jesus to light up our darkness. We need Jesus the hope of the world. Our only hope in this world.
Still, when feelings of disappointment, hurt, devastation, despair and so on overwhelm and overtake, it can be so very hard to feel hopeful. I know. But, can I please encourage you to sit and wonder for just a few minutes this Christmas season about the wonder of Christ? The hope of Christ and what that means to you personally?
Let me say it again...Jesus is God's indescribable gift to you. Jesus, God-man, sent and came to purchase you for God's own possession. Jesus purchased you with His very own blood by dying for you and in your place so that you would never, ever have to spend one more moment in this dark and hurting world separated from Him and so that you could spend all of eternity with Him. Eternity? Yes!
Did you realize you are an eternal being? Yep, your body is going to pass away but you have a soul that will live forever, and you will live forever either in the presence and favor of God or excluded from the favor and presence of God. Why? For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and because the wages of sin is death...not just physical death but eternal death. Eternal separation from the presence and favor of God. But God, so rich in mercy, knows we are helpless to do anything about our situation, so He does it for us and on our behalf. Jesus is a wonder. Jesus, an indescribable gift to you!
Jesus came personally for each one of us. God, confining Himself to a human body...born of a virgin...a baby in a manager. He matured into a man, experienced in the flesh everything you have, are and will experience but without sin. Then, He paid our sin debt by dying on the cross in our place. Satisfied that our debt was paid, God raised Him from the dead, and He now lives forever! He is seated at the right hand of God and lives to intercede or pray for us. Did you know that? Because He lives - we can have eternal life. Oh, there is so much more but let's stop here and let a little wonder seep into our hearts. Based on God's recorded and preserved Word, He has not forgotten about you.
- You are not unloved.
- You are not alone.
- You are not without hope.
Accept the indescribable gift of Jesus. If you do, I can promise you that in your darkest moments your Christmas tree lights will never go out. There is no timer! You will never be without hope, helpless, unloved, rejected, or left in the dark ever again without Jesus to brighten and light your way.
So, let me ask you. Can you catch just a glimpse of wonder? Can you see Jesus? Through all of your disappointment, hurt, devastation, despair, hopelessness, stress, loneliness, rejection and confusion, can you experience a little surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar or inexplicable? Can you experience Jesus?
As you sing the Christmas carols, listen with your heart to the words. Open your heart to wonder beyond description. May you experience the wonder of Jesus this Christmas in an explicable way. Allow the Light of the World to brighten your heart. Yes, wonder about the wonder of Christ.
Jesus. The light of the world, then and now. The hope of the world, then and now. Jesus. The wonder beyond description.
Glory to God in the Highest. Eternal Father, please help us to experience the wonder of Christ this Christmas in a way that transforms our hearts, minds, and lives to that we can be the light of Jesus in a dark and hurting world.
Death (Thanatos 2288) in the original language means both physical death and exclusion from the presence and favor of God in consequence of sin and disobedience but never as extinction. Spiritually speaking, we will live forever in either heaven with God or in hell excluded from the presence and favor of God. Zodhiates, Spiros: The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament, electronic ed. Chattanooga, TN:AMG Publishers, ©1992, 1993, and 2000, Strongs G2288