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I wonder as I wander…

by Mary Domb Mikkelson

(Previously published in Vision & Voice)

MaryDombMikkelson3“Wonder knows that while you cannot look at the light, you cannot look at anything else without it. It is not exhausted by childhood, but finds its key there. It is a journey like a walk through the woods over the usual obstacles and around the common distractions while the voice of direction leads, saying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it.’”

Ravi Zacharias

There is so much wonder to be experienced at Christmastime:

• the fantasia of a star traipsing across the midnight sky
• packages teasing from beneath the tree
• a card from a long-lost friend
• neighbors united, strangers made welcome, the hungry fed
• St. Nicholas reborn in Santa – and in the hearts of children
• time shared with Hanukkah and Kwanzaa
• gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh –  and of Legos, bikes and mittens warm
• the mysteries of a midnight mass
• the promise of the Babe – prophesy fulfilled

And, don’t forget delightful scenes such as these captured in a much loved carol:

• “chestnuts roasting on an open fire”
• “Yuletide carols being sung by a choir”
• “Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow” (who) will “find it hard to sleep tonight”)

For me wonder will this year wear the face of great-granddaughter Rylee, now three and able to anticipate the excitement to come.  Surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses – parents, grandparents, TWO great-grandparents and a bevy of other relatives, young and old, she’ll know the wonder of a family Christmas.

The mystique of Christmas will resonate in telephone calls, greetings bridging cities, states and countries – the wonder of love.  It will season Christmas meals reminiscent in spirit of the Cratchits’ unexpected feast (and Scrooge’s conversion) – the wonder of sharing – and be captured in the music of the season and in pageants, crèches, worship and prayers – the wonder of faith.

It is heard, simply and unforgettably, in the lyrics of an old poem (by G. K. Chesterton) set to music, a poem we at my church (The Table:  United Church of Christ of La Mesa) sing as our Advent candles are lit:

“The Christ child lay on Mary’s lap, His hair was like a light.  (O weary weary were the world, but here is all a-right.”

“…but here is all a-right.”    The miracle, the wonder of Christmas.  May it be so.  May we always know and share its magic.   And may we, in the words of an unknown Appalachian lyricist, always

“…Wonder as (we) wander out under the sky,
How Jesus the Savior did come for to die.
For poor on’ry people like you and like I…
I wonder as I wander out under the sky.

“When Mary birthed Jesus ’twas in a cow’s stall,
With wise men and farmers and shepherds and all.
But high from God’s heaven a star’s light did fall,
And the promise of ages it then did recall.

“If Jesus had wanted for any wee thing,
A star in the sky, or a bird on the wing,
Or all of God’s angels in heav’n for to sing,
He surely could have it, ’cause he was the King.”

The wonder of Christmas!

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