My young granddaughter has discovered the wonder of Christmas. We talk to her on Facetime, and she shows us the Christmas tree, and then on another day, she shows us her Christmas jumper or Christmas presents she has received.
Through her excitement, our family is re-discovering the wonder of Christmas too.
Wonder is literally ‘the feeling of amazement, of being aware of something remarkable happening around you.’ But perhaps, in all the noise and excitement of the Christmas season, you have lost some of the wonder of what Christmas is really all about?
At this time of year, there will be two camps of people: those who will be celebrating and who will be excited at all that is to come; and those who may be feeling sad, unhappy, and not really enjoying the journey.
But the good news is that no matter what our circumstances or feelings are, we CAN still enjoy the wonder of this season (just like my granddaughter) if we choose to focus on the really important, wondrous things that God has given us.
The 7 wonders of Christmas
1. We have been given the wonder of SALVATION. Can you imagine? The Creator of the universe left all glory to become flesh – to become one of us. He chose to be constrained into a physical body, with one goal and purpose: to fulfil God’s plan for mankind. We hear the story so often that it can be easy to take it for granted. But let’s focus on the beautiful wonder of salvation this Christmas time.
2. Mary encountered the favour of God, and through her obedience, we too now have ultimate access to the wonder of FAVOUR. No longer is favour a restricted gift for just a few; it is now available to all. You know, other religions often teach that people have to do something in order to get the favour and blessing of God. But as believers in Jesus, all we have to do is accept it. It is a free gift that is available to all who believe.
3. Let’s also not forget the wonder of God’s blessings. Let’s be grateful for every thing we have and not take our blessings for granted. He blesses us with so many gifts – forgiveness of sins, healing, and so much more. Although your circumstances might look difficult, let’s remember to look at the blessings God has given us and not look at what we don’t have or what we might have lost.
4. We also have the wonder of God’s leading and direction. Can you imagine what Joseph went through? He was told that his fiancée was pregnant, and in that time and culture, that was almost unthinkable. Despite the confusion and fear he must have felt, he was also able to recognise the voice of God. Sometimes in the noise around us, we can lose the ‘wonder of the whisper’. Joseph heard the whisper of God in a dream, which gave him direction and clarity. And we too can have the wonder of direction from God if we pause and choose to listen.
5. We also have the wonder of joy. Oh yes, joy can be tarnished by the circumstances we are in, but if we look at the situation and not at the inward gift of joy, we could miss the wonder of it all. Perhaps this Christmas, there is an empty chair at your table or you have experienced loss of some kind. I know how this feels! Many years ago at our family’s first Christmas after we lost our son Jamie, I was very aware of the empty chair. But yet through it all, by focusing on what we had (and not on what we had lost), we were able to hang on to joy (even though it was tarnished by what we had lost).
6. We were never promised a life without trouble or tribulation, but as believers, we were promised that we could have the wonder of peace. We all experience storms in our lives, but storms come and storms go. Let’s recognise the wonder of the Prince of Peace, and let’s be thankful for His enduring presence in the middle of the most difficult of circumstances. Don’t let the enemy steal from you the wonder of God’s peace!
7. Finally, none of these wonders would be even possible if it wasn’t for the wonder of redemption. Jesus saw each of us as so priceless that he was prepared to be born in order to die for the entire world. We couldn’t pay the debt we owed ourselves, and so God bought us and redeemed us so that He could show us His perfect plan. What a wonder – the perfect gift of redemption.
As Christmas approaches, some of you will be feeling sad and sorrowful, but can I encourage you today to focus on the true wonders of Christmas? These are all the things I have listed above, and you could probably list some of your own too!
Whatever you are going through, whatever season you are in, don’t let the enemy steal from you the true wonders of Christmas.