Make Time for Wonder

    On this Christmas Eve, I offer you a few thoughts from my heart to yours. Sharing heart to heart is itself so . . .  central to life and so much this time of year brings forth deep emotion.  At this time of year in particular God brings to life for me certain memories, much as He makes new again the realization that He came and “pitched His tent among us.” Because I hope to prompt wonder in you, I’ll try to keep my words brief.

One memory that comes to me is of the insightful and pleasant prose of Ken Gire in his Moments with the Savior, like this excerpt from a prayer which follows his contemplation of the wise men’s search (and discovery) of the promised King:

Thank you for the stars and the dreams and the Scriptures and the many ways you reveal yourself. Give me eyes to see you in the circumstances of my life, ears to hear you in the Scriptures, feet to find you in the Bethlehems of this world, hands to bring you my gifts, knees to bow before you, and a heart flowing with worship.

I suggest that wonder is an essential for worship—but the press of time and the Season make wonder even more scarce at Christmas. Maybe that is part of the Enemy’s plan. I think the wise men had to make time for their search—while even Israel’s spiritual leaders were busy about the things of YHWH, those who made time to seek Him were richly rewarded. Again, I encourage you even now to make time for wonder. Perhaps you should take a deep breath through your nose, pause, then allow it to flow out your mouth—Jesus, quiet my heart—then re-read the quote, a bit more slowly and as from you to Him.

One fairly common memory for me at this time of year is a new realization of being tired . . . perhaps exhausted or drained would be more accurate. Perhaps you can relate. Several years ago this feeling resulted in my use of a photo of a used tea bag as the image representative of a line (What then can I bring Him, empty as I am) from James Taylor’s In the Bleak Mid-Winter. It came to me again, with tears, a couple of weeks ago as I listened to some children singing songs about Jesus’ birth—longing to give Him something of real worth, but sensing I have nothing left to give.

Part of why I like James’ version of this old poem is his use of instrumentals to introduce the song and its movements; God uses those chords to take me to a place of peace. In that peaceful place I am able to think on the Creator-Sustainer God who loves you without limits, and came in a helpless infant Jesus to show you how much! The empty as I am line opens the final thoughts of the poem, and through them Papa ministers to my heart.

What then can I bring Him, empty as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I could bring a lamb.
If I were a Wise Man, I would know my part.
What then can I bring Him?
I must give my heart.

Our heart is what it’s all about. Amid the rush of the Season, does He have yours? I won’t dwell this time on the reality of a pure heart within every child of God (although perhaps you should, perhaps that is the point He has for you in this today, maybe His gift to you of a pure heart is how He would catch you up in wonder, love, and praise. If so, go there [now]! You’re excused.). I am reminded of the expansive significance in Scripture of the word heart—Papa uses heart to speak of “the center of the inner life—feelings, emotions, desires, passions, understanding, thought, reflection, will, resolve, . . . the heart determines conduct.”

If I were a Wise Man, I would know my part.
What then can I bring Him?
I must give my heart.

If you haven’t already, please pause with Him; ask Him to bring new life to some of your memories of Him. And then make time for Him to do what you ask: Think on Him. Wonder. And if you have a Facebook account and He leads you to spend a few minutes with me and James, check out this (4 minute) photo montage for In the Bleak Midwinter I put together a couple of years ago (http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1819086875790&saved#!/video/video.php?v=1819086875790 )

May your Christmas be wonder-filled. 

John