How to Feel Awe and Wonder Again on Christmas Morning

In the middle of playing patty-cakes, my toddler stops short, awe and wonder written on her face, lips pursed in rapt attention, eyebrows knitted, finger stretched to the sky.

And then I hear it: a plane buzzing overhead.

A grin spreads wide across her face as the sound grows louder, her arm unwavering until the plane’s engines are drowned out by the hushed silence.

I chuckle with her dad as we lock gazes over her head.

“One day,” he says, “she’s going to get used to that sound. And she won’t care anymore.”

I nod, knowing he’s right, a mama’s sadness settling in. What wonder a little child holds for everything in sight, what thirst for noticing, touching, tasting, holding, listening.

I’m used to living next to an airport, so I rush through my day without hearing one airplane, let alone the dozens that fly overhead.

And it’s not just airplanes I don’t notice: it’s sparrow’s songs, daffodil’s colors, gorgeous sunsets, and children’s laughter.

Like an unimpressed teenager looking at a colorless prism, I discard the paperweight and rush on with my important business, while a toddler is more apt to pay rapt attention as she holds it up to the light and watches myriad colors dance on the walls, giggling with glee as all shades of the rainbow invade her space.

I yawn as I skim the passage, familiar with Jesus and the flannel-graph stories. I recite the details of the shepherds and the star, the wisemen and the manger as if they were a chemist’s report rather than a universe-altering miracle. I might even, in a moment of daft vulnerability, admit that I’m sometimes–dare I say it–bored with Jesus. 

But don’t let that statement fool you for even a moment.

This says nothing about the magnificence of the Son of God.

It says everything about the calloused nature of a heart accustomed to Bible stories and safe Christianity.

My heart.

How to feel awe and wonder again on Christmas morning

My heart that fools me into thinking everything is ok as I deck the halls and ice the gingerbread men. My heart that tricks me into believing that awe and wonder are only for children on Christmas Morning. My heart that thumps with physical life even though it’s long entered spiritual hibernation.

Because awe and wonder belong only to those who notice the miracles all around them, namely, the miracle of Jesus. 

And as we get together for worship on Sunday mornings and cookie exchanges for friends, we’d much rather talk about the weather than our hearts. Vulnerability is tricky business.

But here’s the thing about our hearts: God wants them. He wants not just a get-out-of-hell prayer and token church attendance. He wants us. All of us. That’s the whole reason Jesus came to earth.

And the great news? When we allow God free access to our hearts, He changes them from hearts of stone to hearts of flesh, hearts that beat with spiritual life, hearts that warm at the very mention of Jesus’ Name, hearts that beat in sync with His. 

When we allow God time with us, even in the busy season, we begin to see life with eyes wide open. We begin to notice the wonders all around us. We begin to see and savor Jesus Christ like we never did before.

And like a child with a glass prism, as we look more intently on Him, we will begin to notice even more beautiful layers to His character, more humbling displays of love, more lavishing acts of service. Our whole world will be bathed in the dancing colors of His Name. Everywhere we look we will notice Him.

And our hearts will beat anew with awe and wonder at the Name.

His Name.


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Comments 12

  1. Tara

    Beautiful! We all need to take the time to notice like a child notices. As adults, it is so easy for us to forget and not notice, but children are great reminders to us to remember to notice God all around us. I am going to try and be more aware this Advent season. I was just behind you in the FMF link-up and glad I was.

  2. Jen @ Growing in Faith

    Too much awesome here (and an Advent study!!)

    It’s so easy to let the glitter and shiny wrapping paper distract us from the real importance of the season. From the Savior who was born in a manger, to hang on a cross for us. And it’s so, so easy to forget how much God wants us to immerse ourselves in the stories of His Son this season.

  3. Carol

    I taught children’s division at our church for so long and LOVED the wonder and awe of the kids. They’re so INTO God and the excitement was contagious. I pray for that to continue in my heart! 🙂

  4. kathy burton

    I can see why God uses you in speaking to all women out there you have such a beautiful gift with words. I am always touched by your God given talent to speak with such uplifting words and I thank the Lord for sending me your way. Thank you for your inspiration and God bless you.

  5. Barbara

    Years ago I experienced Disney World for the VERY FIRST TIME at age 50+ – it was my grandson’s 4th birthday and a weekend at Disney World! Finding awe and wonder through his eyes was quite a special thing for me, experiencing that place for the first time…so it is with God’s World that surrounds us. We see His wonder through the eyes of the little ones (my NOW 15 year old grandson plus the younger ones, ages 6, 3 1/2, 1 1/2 years old and 4 months old remind me of that beauty of God’s World, and that I should slow down and be in awe and wonder of it all! Thanks for sharing!.

  6. Colleen Mitchell

    Oh friend. I loved this. Having another culture in our home that has been so isolated gives me eyes to see and remember to be filled with wonder. Their kids freak out when a car comes up our road or a helicopter flies overhead. I just love all these words here. I bookmarked it to read again as Advent begins.

  7. Kaye Swain

    Thank you for a lovely visit. Advent has always been one of my favorite parts of Christmas – especially with my kids and grandkids. Have a blessed and beautiful holiday season and Happy Thanksgiving – Merry Christmas.

  8. Katie

    Great stuff. I’ve been over-the-top blessed to have grown up in church, a second… THIRD???? generation Christian; so, very often, I feel the same way/feelings you relate in this post. Thank you for putting things in perspective. 🙂

  9. Katie

    oops! sorry for leaving two comments 😛 but I really liked what you said about “as we ALLOW GOD TIME with us”… because that’s what we do and how He is, although He is ALL-POWERFUL and it could SO EASILY be the other way around. He doesn’t force us to spend time with Him, draw close to Him— EVEN THOUGH HE KNOWS LIFE WOULD BE SO MUCH RICHER FOR US IF WE WOULD!!!— He’s a gentleman.

    1. Post

      SO true! God doesn’t force us but it’s always so much better when I spend time with Him. Silly sheep… I like to run away even though the best thing ever is right there waiting for me. I’m so grateful for His patience with me!

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