Recapturing the Wonder of Christmas

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Christmas dinner was finished and the presents unwrapped. My grandmother entered the room carrying a birthday cake with one candle flicking on top. She asked the family gathering of fourteen, “Whose birthday are we celebrating?”

My thoughts went to my cousin who has a December birthday, but he was a teenager like me. Finally, my aunt broke the silence, “It’s Jesus’ birthday.”

Huh? I ate my piece of cake and went on the way with my self-centered life for another ten plus years. Then I studied the scriptures and encountered this Jesus. Apathy transformed to wonder and this wonder captured my heart and mind.

When an angel visited Mary, the people of Israel were in a pattern of wonder lost. No miracles. No prophets. No word from God.  But during this surprise visit, the angel announced the impossible to Mary.

You will conceive and give birth to a Son and call Him Jesus. (Luke 1:31)

He will be great and called the Son of the God. (Luke 1:32)

He will be given the throne of David and His kingdom will have no end. (Luke 1:32-33)

The Holy Spirit will come upon you. (Luke 1:35)

Elizabeth who was once childless is now with child. (Luke 1:36)

Mary replied, “Let it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:28 ESV).

This was not Mary’s plan A. She was supposed to be married to Joseph first then have a baby, but God had a different plan–a holy Plan B.

She rushed off to see her cousin Elizabeth who was also pregnant. Can you imagine the thoughts tumbling around in her mind as she traveled? She had time to consider the Old Testament prophecies and the angel’s announcement. A picture emerged. Could it really be?

When she stepped over the threshold of Elizabeth’s home, her relative confirmed her emerged picture. Wonder enlarged in her heart. Mary responded, “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46-47 NIV).

Mary stayed about three months with Elizabeth and let this wondrous news soak in and take root.

Later when the shepherds visited Baby Jesus, we still find that Mary “treasured up all these words, pondering in her heart what they might mean” (Luke 2:19 NET).

This Christmas I want to slow down and allow the story of Jesus’ birth to capture my wonder again. I want to be reminded that only God can supply the true wonder: He sent His Son from the glories of heaven to become small and live among us on earth. And His name is Jesus–the one who saves us from our sin.

I want to treasure and ponder this amazing act of grace.

I want to be recaptured by the One called Wonderful.

 

 

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