Renewing Wonder

I’m tired of Christmas. There. I have confessed it to the world. It is a sign that something is wrong with me, that when the Bible stories meant to instill hope and wonder, I stifle a yawn because I have been hearing it for the thirty second time. And that is NOT good.

I’m tired of yet another rendition of Frosty the Snowman by yet another celebrity; no more remixes! In fact, so far, the best thing I heard about Frosty the Snowman is that this lovable snowman is actually a lich, an undead zombie like creature. For those who played World of Warcraft, yes, that type of lich.

Where is my sense of wonder? Why has it disappeared?

I know why. It’s because I need I remember the Christ in the Christmas. You cannot celebrate Christmas without Christ. Yesterday, on Christmas Day, I found a book on Kindle written by one of my many favorite Christian authors: Max Lucado. Max has been called America’s Pastor; he has been reaching millions of Christians worldwide. In one of his latest books called “Because of Bethlehem“, Max reminds us why Jesus came in the first case.

The first coming of Jesus was difficult to say the least. He came in a time called Pax Romana – Roman peace. Rome’s legions have conquered and imposed their version of peace. Augustus, better known as Octavian, also called himself a savior. Megalomaniac King Herod called himself the King of the Jews. There were threats to Jesus’s life from the beginning.

His earthly parents, Joseph and Mary, did not have it easier. Mary bore a stigma of having a child out of wedlock. Joseph, despite his love for Mary and Jesus, probably bore the shame of marrying a “sinful” woman. The couple was a poor couple; when they offered the thanksgiving at the Temple on the eighth day, they offered only turtledoves which were specified for the poor.

Why? As Max Lucado writes: “Christmas begins what Easter celebrates.” Which is better? An ugly Christmas sweater, or your salvation? A new grill or forgiveness of sins?

God who made the stars in the skies stepped down and was born a man. It’s hard to imagine; the closest is if Bill Gates renounced all his wealth and chose to live on LA’s Skid Row for the next thirty years. No pension; just whatever handouts he gets. Or Oprah Winfrey; she’s seen as a benefactor so she just might announce she is going to the Austin neighborhood in Chicago and live there for the next ten years. However, God did so much more.

I really enjoy astronomy and might have done that instead of history and law. There is a show called How the Universe Works and covers everything from just how strange black holes are, or just how many dwarf planets (aka minor planets) are in our solar system alone. Unfortunately, all of the scientists interviewed use the evolutionary view of cosmology; not a single Christian astronomer (who do exist). Yet, I see the wonder and the craziness of creation and marvel at our God who made it all. And yet he chose to limit himself into human flesh.

The Gospel of John says: He became flesh and dwell among us. Another version states it more dramatically: “He move into our neighborhood.” Can you imagine finding out that Jesus is your next door neighbor? Imagine in the 1st century world, Jesus is going to the same markets you are, on a grocery run for his parents and brothers? Or that he is standing two rows behind you in the synagogue? If you didn’t know who He is, you might even ask him about local politics or chances for the local sports team in the finals? Yet He knows you as well; He knows which fruits you like, which vendor you have a feud with over the price of something, or how your business is doing.

I think that’s the wonder of Christmas – that God decided to move in, to invade your life, and change it for the better. Starting with salvation, and then everything is just like the things you always wanted at Christmas.

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