Today is going to be a wonderful day! I know this is true not only because it is my day off and I’ll be with my girls (Stacie & Sadie), because I am speaking it in to existence or because I woke up feeling Tiggerish (not Eeyorish). BTW, I did wake up feeling Tiggerish! But there’s a good reason for this. We’re getting our Christmas Tree today.
Now for most kids (of all ages), the very thought of going to the forest, the farm or the Wal-Mart lot to pick out the perfect tree is enough to bound out of bed early on a day off! But for this big kid, and my girls, this is our first tree hunt in nearly a decade (and first ever for Sadie)! Yes, in the midst of the Christmas Tree Heaven of our country (the Willamette Valley of Oregon), I’ve been assembling a fake tree in the living room. What a Yule Tide tragedy! But that changes today, as the fresh cut noble (or grand) fir, will fill our new Sherwood living room with the smell of the season! My mittens and boots are waiting at the front door…
When I was a (smaller) kid, I have the fondest memories of going out to the Ochoco Mountains to find our tree. It was a full day excursion, filled with snow, sledding, indecision, a camp fire, hot chocolate, and freezing cold feet! And a long drive home. But we always came home happy! At least us kids did. Ah, the wonder of it all!
This morning I was re-reading the highlights of my favorite read of the year (Brian Zahnd’s Beauty Will Save the World). I went through a couple of yellow highlighters when I read it the first time, so it was hard to get very far. I was looking for something in particular, which will show up in a future blog (perhaps even next week). A shameless plug, I know, but it’s the holidays. I eventually found it, but along the way I got stuck in The Greatest Wonder of All (chapter 2).
I’ve mentioned before that I love Brian’s writing because he is a Kingdom guy! And this book in particular (just wait til next week!). But he’s also a “Child-like” guy. I can give no two greater compliments. Here is a sample:
Children inhabit a magical world rich in beauty and replete with wonder…through the eyes of a child, beauty is abundant and mystery is everywhere…The tragedy of growing up is not that we put aside childishness, but that we lose the capacity for childlike wonder…The simple act of growing up and leaving childhood behind shouldn’t be such a catastrophe for our ability to wonder and be enchanted by mystery and beauty…Wonder is an essential ingredient if life is to be made livable. Wonder is the cure–the cure for life-killing boredom. (RIGHT?!!)
When we grow up, Christmas loses a lot of its wonder. As Brian says, this is a true “tragedy,” and a real “catastrophe!” And it doesn’t have to be this way. But not because we no longer have an advent calendar where we eat a chocolate everyday leading up to Christmas Eve. Not because we can’t wait to wake mom & dad up and bound downstairs Christmas morning to open our gifts. And not because we no longer believe in Santa Claus. Seriously kids!
I gave a short devotional yesterday on the Incarnation in our staff meeting. I told the staff that this is one of the central doctrines of our faith. But Brian puts it another way. He calls it The Greatest Wonder of All. That sounds like a much better devotional. And it surely must be true. How is it possible that the only God of the universe, enthroned in glory, would become flesh and “move into the neighborhood?” How could Jesus set aside the rights of divinity, without losing it, in order to become a humble and suffering servant in ushering in the Kingdom of God? How is it possible, that Jesus could be at the same time both fully God and fully man! That is the mystery of mysteries…the wonder of all wonders!
And how is is possible that we could lose the wonder of the Incarnation…the wonder of Christmas! It could be because well meaning pastors are giving devotionals on holiday doctrines. Maybe. Or maybe we’ve just gotten so “grown up” or have heard the story read so many times that we’ve lost the wonder of it all! It is the greatest story ever told! It is the greatest true story ever told!! And I still contend that it’s our greatest doctrine… 😉
So as the holidays switch in to high gear, don’t lose the wonder of Christmas, kids! The Lord has (really!) come…as the Son of God…and Son of Man! Joy to the World!
I’ll post a picture of our tree…next week! 🙂