- Fr. John Jennings
Our Sacred Stories: Christmas – The Wonder and Awe of God’s Love
I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord forever;
I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations. (Ps 89:1)
How ready, how able am I to bless the Lord God, at all times? Am I able to stand in wonder and awe at the immense love of our God for humanity and all creation? Am I ready to recognize Christmas as a celebration this great love.
Wonder makes everything new. It is the gift of every small child. Watch the eyes of the little ones. Their world is ever new. It is a world of discovery at every moment, in all they encounter. To them, nothing is ordinary or familiar.
Young couples manifest the same. A wedding, for all the busyness and the trappings that surround it, is essentially about a loving couple. They may be nervous, they may be excited, but as they look into each other’s eyes and express their love, nothing else matters. They stand in wonder and awe of each other.
They have embarked on a journey of discovery, standing in a world of wonder with each other. Moved by their love, the awe in which they hold each other causes them to glory in their companionship.
As we move into the Christmas season our gaze turns to Mary (Luke 1:26-38). Her encounter with the Angel Gabriel leaves her in wonder and awe. Everything is new. Nothing can be ordinary or familiar for her. She is now the servant of the Lord as she brings God’s dream to fulfillment in the world. Can we have the spirit of the little child, the sense of discovery of the young lovers, the awe of Mary?
The God of our faith is an awesome God, not because of power, nor of immensity. Our wonder comes from the reality that God has come to us where we are – in what we so often take for granted, God’s love for us all. God touches us in what we see as so familiar and ordinary. We stand in awe of our God who has such love.
Ilia Delio, a Franciscan nun, theologian and scientist expresses how our God is so awesome and why celebrating Christmas is so significant for us: We can read the history of our 13.7-billion-year-old universe as the rising up of Divine Love incarnate, which bursts forth in the person of Jesus, who reveals love’s urge toward wholeness through reconciliation, mercy, peace, and forgiveness. Jesus is the love of God incarnate…. Christian life is a commitment to love, to give birth to God in one’s own life and to become midwives of divinity in this evolving cosmos. We are to be wholemakers (unity builders) of love in a world of change. (Quoted by Richard Rohr, Online Reflection 7 Dec 20)
Somewhere in the midst of the ordinary and familiar of our lives we discover this great gift of awe and wonder.This is what we celebrate in Christmas – Emmanuel, God is with us.