Awe and Wonder
Advent Day 17
Romans 8:11 ESV
2 Timothy 3:14-15 ESV
Luke 2:15-18 ESV
Every morning when I wake up I am aware of the presence of God from within. In my younger adult years I was ‘sometimes’ aware of the presence “within”. I think that’s because when I was younger the church didn’t talk a lot about God IN us.
Romans 8:11 tells us, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”
As I have aged I have intentionally become increasingly more aware of God’s presence moment by moment. I am aware it’s IN me, but more and more it’s around me as well. I don’t believe that’s because I’m “special”, even though people who know me do notice I have a very silly side…almost like a child. I love that. I think my lack of height makes it possible for me to relate to children very well. I just love the mind of a child because they are often filled with wonder and awe!
According to what the Apostle Paul he wrote in 2 Timothy 3:14-15, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
I learned about Jesus in Sunday School and in the home.
We had a wonderful tradition in my house that my dad would cook Sunday lunch after church. I loved that time with my dad! It was a silly thing, really but he loved bologna and hot dogs fried with a crust on it. (Many people would say they were burned). Every Sunday after church my dad would “burn” either bologna or hot dogs and that’s what we would eat for lunch.
While I came to love bologna where the edges were burned and hot dogs that were hard fried, what I cherished most was the time with my dad. See, whenever I had questions about something that was said in Sunday School or in church, I could ask my dad what that meant.
Ergo we had theological discussions while we ate our burnt bologna or hot dogs.
My dad was an Elder at church and he taught a large Sunday School class for adults. Throughout the week prior to his Sunday lesson he would study one or two hours every night to prepare for class. He loved studying the Bible!
So, when I had questions he was more than willing to discuss them!
Little did I know that those were the days when my foundational theology was being built. In my late teens and early twenties I met a fellow who was majoring in religion in college. We married and when he finished college he went to Seminary. He eventually became Pastor of a small church and I was a Pastor’s wife for many decades.
My foundational theology served me well.
Today nearly seven decades have now gone by.
My children all have children of their own. My two oldest grandchildren are adults, and the others aren’t far behind.
Today when I opened my eyes my first thought was of the presence of God in and around me. These days that’s often the case.
I know angels protect and provide. See, angels aren’t just a thing of the past.
Billy Graham referred to them as “God’s Secret Agents”. He was so right.
In Luke 2:15-18 we learn, “When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.”
When the Shepherds who guarded the unblemished lambs went to the manger nearby they would have recognized the swaddling cloth protecting the baby Jesus.
The moment He was born the lamb of God was protected and angels watched over Him. They announced His birth.
I have to wonder what transpired in the manger with the Shepherds and the child. More than likely they told Mary and Joseph about the Angel who appeared and told them how to find the holy child.
When they found Him, they would have recognized the same kind of swaddling cloth they used to protect the young lambs.
With tears in her eyes, even years later Mary probably would have told her boy that the shepherds specifically remembered a ‘Host of Angels singing Glory to God’ when He was born. No doubt she would have told Jesus about Peace on Earth and that God the Father was pleased.
Mary would have told Jesus the boy that after He was born the shepherds tending sheep in a nearby field found them in the manger. She would have told Jesus the shepherds spoke of the things the Angel said. She might have told Jesus the shepherds were surprised to find the Holy Child in a manger that was filled with cattle and sheep.
They may have commented that they expected the Promised Child would be born to a wealthy family that had servants. The shepherds could have been surprised the baby boy’s mother was a young girl and His father was a simple carpenter.
Whatever was said in the manger that night would have been remembered and recounted as Jesus the boy grew.
I’m certain the story about the visit from the shepherds would have been a favorite family story they told every year Jesus had another day of celebration marking His birth.
I know the story of His birth was a ‘favorite’ my parents talked about. It was a story I repeated to my children.
It is a story my grand-children have heard over and over again.
And still…even now I never grow weary of hearing the story. This morning when I opened my eyes and I knew the presence of God was in me and all around, I remembered the story about the babe in the manger the night the shepherds found Him. No matter how many times we hear the story, we are filled with great awe and wonder!
Spiritual Practice: Awe and Wonder
Let God IN you fill YOU with Awe and Wonder!
In God, Deborah