Waiting on wonder

“See the curiosity of the cosmos as Christ condescends to His most cherished creatures

See the astonishment of angels as the Almighty advances towards Earth

See the humility of the pre-existent King born of a virgin birth

The Infinite becomes infant, the Maker becomes man”

~Immanuel, Beautiful Eulogy


The dark night sky did not give up her secrets until we’d settled into the field and laid face up in the frosty air for close to half an hour without distractions.

In the still and quiet I blinked profusely, straining to see the glory.

The cold hurt my hands but the wool blankets and my massive, comforting husband kept me warm while we waited to be amazed.

Waiting 30 minutes these days—without a phone or television or satellite radio or any social media, I am afraid, has become unheard of, so it is no wonder that waiting on the wonder seemed so long.

Once our eyes adjusted and the dark sky became so black, glory appeared and it was more than worth the wait. The longer we focused and let go of distractions, the clearer they became.

What initially appeared to be our eyes playing tricks was now so clearly the streaking, glorious rocky and metallic bodies of meteors as they showered down all around the expanse overhead.

Every one of them spurred. Encouraged. Gave the desire for more.

We went to wait on wonder—and it did not disappoint.

Christmas always excites me and I think it is because it is exactly the same—waiting on wonder.

I’m that person who is shamed on social media for decorating as soon as I move my creepy animated butler back to the basement the day after Halloween.

From the days when I would fumble into my parents room in the middle of the night asking if it was time to get up to relaying to my own children that they have to wait for us to get them, the anticipation of Christmas’ arrival has always energized me.

It is the wonder of the One great God who has made himself known at this time in eternity. It is a cosmic birthday celebration like none other. Creator Jesus arrives in His creation.

Somehow, lately, be it age, or noise, or social everything, I have felt the wonder and awe slipping.

Since God does not change, I know that the wonder has not slipped or changed or lessened.

So the change must have happened here, in this small globe that becomes crowded in with bright lights and gift-giving and screens of all sizes everywhere I go. (I resent eating out with a screen blinking back at me on the edge of the table.)

This tiny computer screen that I carry everywhere I go takes the big and beautiful and indescribable glory of all that is creation and cuts it down to fit into my hand. A view that is posted, liked, favorited and retweeted.

This year, of all years, I have faltered in my excitement, that twinge that feels like nerves or unadulterated anticipation as I look to the arrival, the advent.

It is the arrival of the One that I want to wonder over.

The noise of the world and all that it is jumbles and distorts and gives me a particular lack of clarity and vision.

The longer we exist here in this cynical, distracted, self-absorbed place it is as if bits of it slip away.

My 12-year-old daughter brazenly told my wide-eyed, happy-go-lucky 7-year-old there was no Santa.

I know because he bravely slid up next to me a few nights back and casually dropped into conversation before bed that today he’d learned this fact. Staring up at me in the dimly-lit room, I could see him blinking fast to show he was old and wise and would not cry over the revelation.

While I do not care about the debate or even about the myth, I care about the joy and wonder and bits of it slipping away.

My insides sank as I realized what would most likely have been the last Christmas holding onto that little bit of fun would not be. The youngest of five and last “believer” bravely smiled a weak smile and hugged me before bed.

Perhaps this is the kind and gracious stripping away of distraction.

Perhaps this is where we see that what cannot be seen is the true wonder.

After seeing the shooting stars against the magnificent black backdrop, I admit I took out my phone in a vain attempt to capture the glory.

Frame after frame of just black screen–not a gloriously lit black night sky–reminded me that this is glory that will not be captured.

Is it still wonder when it’s been reduced to something held in my hand?

Only the great and glorious God of all creation can hold His creation in His hand.

There I am, tiny and frail, and in awe of His vastness. I can no more capture the Creator than hold His creation.

I was made to be held, to find rest in His hand and not the other way round.

My feelings do not mediate His vast, infinite and divine nature.

God does not fit—will not fit— in a box on the table at Chili’s or into my iPhone.

It is up to me to step away from the noise and into the dark to wait quietly, attentively for this arrival.

I need the focus of glory to restore my soul.

I am waiting on Wonder again and He will not disappoint.

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