The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

“Learn this well: Unless you dramatically change your way of thinking and become teachable, and learn about heaven’s kingdom realm with the wide-eyed wonder of a child, you will never be able to enter in” (Matt. 18:3, TPT).

Why a child? Because a healthy child lives in wonder. They see love, joy, hope, and magic in the most ordinary day. And at Christmas, there’s something even deeper and more powerful. God’s presence is always with you, but when millions are singing in stores, “His law is love, and his gospel is peace,” “Joy to the world, the Savior reigns,” and, “O come let us adore him,” the barriers between the natural and supernatural become thin as wrapping paper.

When I was young, our family would have great Christmas eve parties with wonderful friends. Those nights of fantastic food and fun are some of my favorite memories. Part of our tradition was to all gather around an old nativity set at the end of the night, and put a figurine of Jesus into the manger, completing the scene.

For many years, after everyone had gone home and my family was in bed, I would go quietly downstairs, turn the Christmas tree lights on, and sit by the manger. I remember being six years old and understanding why Santa and my mother had the same handwriting. But I knew in my heart that Jesus was real.

Even at that age, I would think about why he came to earth this way, and he helped me understand the magic of it. I thanked him for everyone and everything in my life, and for how kind and loving he was to me. I listened to him speak to my heart of so many powerful possibilities, some of which I’m just now starting to see. The awe I experienced always made me cry. It still does.

That sense of wonder has stayed with me. Many have told me they’ve been encouraged by how I dealt with cancer. Anything good that came out of that part of my journey was an overflow of the awe of being in his presence. It came from knowing God was far greater than anything I was facing. It came from that little boy sitting by the manger in the light of the Christmas tree. 

I know this week is crazy busy, but take enough time to nurture wonder. Ask Jesus to awaken the joy of a child in your heart, and let it overflow it to everyone in your life. That’s the last-minute gift you’ve been looking for.

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