My wife, Leah, was recently reading through the latest edition of Magnolia Magazine. The theme for the issue was “Wonder.” That word has stayed with me over the last couple of weeks and has shaped how I’ve been navigating this Advent season.
Wonder is something that often escapes me. I like to be in the know, to be prepared, to be certain. To approach things with a sense of wonder indicates that there’s something unknown, something to be surprised by, something to be unsure about. I’ve fallen into the trap as seeing that as a weakness. I’ve bought into the lie that knowing and being certain is a sign of strength and superiority. But God has challenged me to approach this Advent with wonder – to put aside my pride and my certainty.
It was Herod’s desire to know, to be prepared, and to be certain that lead him to tragically miss the importance of the one born ‘King of the Jews.’ All of Israel was certain what their King would look like, so no one thought to look in a manger…much less on a cross.
John 1 tells us, “He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.” When we replace childlike wonder with the sin of certainty, we miss what God is actually doing in search of what we think He should be doing.
If you’ve spent any amount of time as a Christian, you know what Christmas is about. You’ve heard the story time and time again. With enough time we become so familiar that we are certain there are no more surprises. This isn’t just true at Christmas either. We’ve heard the sermons, the youth group lessons. We’ve been out to camp and gone to the altar and returned home. We know what to expect. We become calloused and cold to what God is doing. Let us shed what we think we know. Let us shed our certainty. Let us come and adore Him.
Christmas should leave us with plenty of wonder. The infinite becomes infant. The maker becomes man. The divine becomes despised.
This Christmas I invite you to a sense of wonder. The creator of the universe who breathes out stars and measures the heavens with the breadth of his hand lies naked and crying in a dirty manger. Let us put off all pretense of certainty and instead be left to wonder.
Dave Hallahan has been a camper, volunteer staff member, speaker and worked summer staff at Delanco. He serves as a youth pastor at Hope Christian Fellowship in Woodbury.