The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord God hath spoken, who can but prophesy? ~Amos 3:8
It is a Christmassy word. “Winter Wonderland”, “wonders of His love”, “Star of Wonder”, and all that.
It denotes a sense of surprise, mixed with admiration, encased by astonishment and awe. Type it in on google and results say it is “caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.”
The best way I can describe it is by giving you the example of a child. Children by nature are wonder-full. Untouched by cynicism, they are daily surprised by new experiences and unfamiliar concepts.
Take for instance the five-year-old boy I care for several days a week. His bright blue eyes speak of wonder. Several months ago I brought my well-worn copy of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, thinking it would be something we could read through together. His imaginative spirit and love for creatures and swords made me think he would love this book immediately.
I was wrong.
William was very wary about approaching the world of Narnia with an open spirit. He couldn’t understand why these children’s parents weren’t with them (something we still are working through) and as soon as the goat-man entered the story he was unable to connect. It was too weird, and he told me that every time I suggested reading a chapter together.
And yet every time I convinced him (or bribed him) to read with me he was enamored. He stared at me, barely blinking, as we began our journey into the wardrobe. Maybe it was my outrageous voices for each character that caught his attention, but the further we get into the world the more his eyes shine with quizzical eagerness, taking the book after I’ve finished the day’s chapter to look at the map in the back of the book, find pictures, and ask more questions.
We met Aslan for the first time this week. His usual wiggles were stilled and he listened intently to every word I spoke.
This is wonder. Caused by something unfamiliar, something very inexplicable, something unexpected, something overflowing with beauty. And I believe it is a primary reason why God created humanity to slowly move into adulthood, rather than the immediacy of maturation the rest of the animal kingdom experiences. So that we remember what is was to be a child, to be wonder-filled, to know the awe that occurs when we encounter that mighty lion for the first time.
The most beautiful, most quoted sentence in the Narnia series comes from Mr. Beaver when the children ask him if Aslan is safe. “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
We lose wonder when we lost sight of the magnitude and glory of our Lord. We lose wonder when we see him only as “sweet baby Jesus” and forget that He is King, ruling and reigning, sitting at the right hand of the throne of God. And the wonder of it all is that the baby in a manger was the fullness of God. The might, the strength and the magnitude of our Almighty Lord was dwelling in him. The King of creation was the child asleep on the hay.
We lose wonder when the unexpected and inexplicable becomes normal.
We lose wonder when the splendor and beauty of the incarnation is old news.
We lose wonder when we forget the God we serve is mighty, roaring lion.
The lion has roared. He is on the move. His majesty is being revealed to the children who walk through life with eyes sparkling with wonder. Take time to bask in this same wonder this advent season.