O Tidings of Wonder and Joy.

I think sometimes we lock God up in church and don’t let Him meet us anywhere else. We banish him from our everyday activities. Not on purpose, it’s just that we think sports, music, nature, emotions and friendships, are for us and church is for God.

It’s really too bad because we limit God’s loving ways. The Holy Spirit (God’s love) comes to us in so many ways. One of his favorite tricks is to play “Peek a Boo”. God gives us flashes of his royal robe. He opens our eyes to see what is hidden in the everyday.

What is this experience? It’s called Wonder. Children have it all the time. Hopefully you’ve had it too. It starts with a simple observation of life around us and leads to a “moment” where we experience the sheer beauty or power or mystery contained in what we are observing.

Words sort of fail us. We can’t describe what we’ve heard or seen. But we know what it feels like. It feels like we’re in the presence of a masterpiece, something exquisite to overwhelm us with beauty or emotion or truth or mystery.

But what’s best about these moments (the wonder part) is the question left hanging in the air: “WHERE did this come from?!” Or perhaps more accurately, “How can this be?” and “Why does this effect me so deeply?!” . . . It’s God, silly . . . trying to get your attention.

Any one of these can be an occasion for wonder:

  • The ocean, the waves, the horizon
  • Seagulls riding a lake breeze
  • The strict salute of a young soldier
  • The folds and color of a rose
  • A baby’s smell
  • The eyes of a child
  • The full moon on new snow
  • A Tea Party with your granddaughter
  • A lover’s first spoken “I love you”
  • Hearing “I love you” back
  • A base hit in little league
  • The day you could finally ride a bike
  • Sitting on your dad’s lap, playing with his giant fingers
  • Really hearing a great piece of music
  • Sitting in an empty cathedral
  • Tears upon finishing some effort that took everything you had
  • Burying a parent
  • Holding a grandchild
  • Winning a game in triple overtime
  • Losing a game in triple overtime
  • Watching the snow fall
  • Counting the stars at night
  • (What would you add for your wonderments . . . . ?)

Moments of wonder can open a window through which we catch a glimpse of a world filled with a beauty and mystery that far surpasses our ability to fully understand it. Yet it will not let us leave that place without whispering to us . . . “See that? Did you like that? . . . It’s only a shadow of my love for you.”

Read psalm 139 for a beautiful moment of wonder. It all leads to a surrender to faith . . . “Oh Lord, How great you are. Thank you for letting me live and have my being. Thank you for letting me see/feel this moment”


I hope you take time this Advent Season to experience the beauty of this world and of our lives as human beings. Don’t try too hard though. Just let the moment be what it wants to be in you.

Remember God loves you and made this world for all of us.

Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel

Fr. Tim