We are watching “Miracle on 34th Street” with three of the grands, the oldest of whom is 6. She leans over and whispers, “Those two believe, but I don’t.” She casts a knowing look and has a slight upward tilt of the chin that says she’s one of us now. I nearly wonder if I should offer her some coffee and tell her where I hide good dark chocolate in the kitchen.
Sweet, but I hope she never completely loses her sense of wonder.
Nearly every Christmas morning as a child I woke up with a profound sense that the world was different. Oh, sure the chubby guy in the red suit had made a delivery (wink, wink), but that wasn’t it. It was that a baby had been born in the deep of night. I always imagined it was probably after midnight, when the all the world would be asleep, and before 5 a.m., when all the farmers would be awake.
The time came for the baby to be born and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.
I knew the birth had to be something special because it was a divide in time. Our calendars said so—B.C. and A.D.—before Christ and anno Domini, the year of our Lord.
I knew it had happened long ago and far away, in a stable of sorts that was much like a barn. There had been animals about, straw no doubt, and a feeding trough.
She wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Adults talked like it was a shame that a baby had been born in a barn, but I thought it was wonderful. My mother sometimes asked if I had been born in a barn. I wished I had. I spent many an afternoon in my Grandpa’s barn and it was a wonderful place full of light and shadow, hiding places, plank floors, wooden ladders, hay bales and nooks and crannies for momma cats and newborn kittens. It would be a marvelous place for a baby to be born, too.
My depth of understanding regarding the needs of newborns was on a par with the depth of theology. But there was a sense of wonder then that sometimes eludes me now.
My theology is deeper today and my faith mature, in part because it has been tested time and time again. Frequently, I return to that first Christmas to regroup and start again. “God so loved the world, that He sent His only begotten Son.”
I have a good understanding of covenants, catechisms, creeds and doctrines. What I don’t understand, is where the wonder went.
What I would give to see the wonder of Christmas, once more, through the eyes of a child.