Being Wowed by Christmas

Life has been a bit crazy around here. The holidays always provide some degree chaos, but we’ve also had the added adventure of home remodeling (remember the collapsed dining room ceiling right after Sandy?), some work trials (mine, not my husband’s), and out-of-state visitors. This weekend, in fact, we’re celebrating three Christmases in three different states with family from at least seven different states. I love it.

As I run from one event to another, from one family group to the next, I am overwhelmed by a common lack of awe in Christmas. We all go through the motions and we celebrate, but we’re so active we seem to have lost our wonder. We have so many traditions and obligations, we rarely stop to really think about the facts of Christmas. Facts that have nothing to do with cards, gifts, cookies, candies, fundraising, or shopping.

We’ve all heard that “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” and we should “Keep Christ in Christmas.” We read our Bible stories and sing all the right hymns. That’s all great — but it means very little if we fail to embrace the significance of it.

Do we remember?

Do we remember that this was a miraculous birth? That all the details of our eternal salvation were wrapped up in a tiny helpless baby? That when Mary saw this child, she held her Creator and knew He would bring redemption to the whole world?

That’s just phenomenal! It’s beyond awe-inspiring. We sing O Holy Night and Come Emmanuel, but has it all become so rote, so practiced, that we’re no longer wowed? I mean, this is no little wow. This is a huge, astronomical, life-changing, world-altering WOW … and I don’t want to take it for granted.

Remember. Let God’s grace amaze you.

This is my challenge to you: Listen to the words of those songs we sing and truly ponder what all this means. Think about the story, take time to imagine flesh on these well-known characters, and let God wow you with His grace.

One of my favorite parts of the story of Christ’s incarnation is Simeon’s moment. It’s less than ten verses in Luke 2, but it encompasses this awe that I simply can’t shake this year.

Imagine being Simeon. God told this old priest that he would not die until he had seen the Christ. He had waited his whole life to see the Messiah and then a poor couple enters the temple with an infant son and he just knows. He holds the child and sees God’s salvation for all the world. Can you imagine?

What would it feel like to have all your hopes and dreams realized? And not just for yourself, but for all your people? To know without a doubt that joy and peace would come to the world and that you were holding the Source of it in your very hands?

“… for my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.” — Luke 2:30–32 (ESV)

Imagine being that wowed by Christmas.

I want you to know that this celebration is about so much more than gifts or family or even peace on earth. It’s about miracles. It’s about a righteous, omnipotent God-King descending to our level — to a dirty, smelly manger in the form of a helpless child being mothered by a poor, unwed teenager — just so that you and I can be free and forgiven and live with Him forever. I can’t imagine any dignitary stooping to that level for anyone. But this wasn’t any dignitary or earthy king; it was the Creator of all the universe, the absolutely perfect, infinite God! That’s beyond awesome.

The image featured here is a painting by Ron DiCianni entitled “Simeon’s Moment.” You can purchase a print of it at your local Christian bookstore or at a number of online retailers. (I have one in my living room.)

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