In Wyoming and Colorado during late October there is something that happens in the animal kingdom that makes people stop what they were doing. Bull elks start playing with each other and ramming heads. One late October Reed and I were two feet away from them (through a picture window). They looked like they were having fun. They weren’t trying to hurt each other but they kept butting heads. It was amazing to watch. But even more amazing was the sense of wonder that filled us. There was no noise as everyone (pastor's and their families) stared out the windows watching. The wonder and joy in the air was electric.
You get that same feeling if you have ever been around a child or a group of children the day it snows? There is an excitement that cannot be contained. The kids are so bouncy; they cannot be still even if they wanted to. They jump and laugh and stare out the window watching it fall. They are waiting for that moment when they can get out in the snow and play. There is such joy and excitement that it’s contagious.
Now think about how most of us adults respond to the snow. There is anxiety about what this means. Will it snow so much that school will be canceled and we have to figure out what to do with the kids. We think about the shoveling we will have to do that lead to sore backs and muscles. We wonder where the scraper is, where the boots, gloves, and hats are. We wonder whether there is any salt and how bad will the roads be. Snow seems like a lot of work. There is so much more to do. The wonder and beauty of the snow sometimes seems lost on us.
In Matthew Jesus talks about the attitude we can have. If "your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light (Matt 6:22).” But if we have an attitude of obligation, duty, worry about where our next pay check is coming from, where we will get clothes, food, a job our eyes will be closed to the experience of God’s presence. Our eyes reflect what we are filled with. Right now it is easy to be filled with worry. Every time we turn on the tv or read the newspaper we are given anxiety about the future. So how do we choose to let our eyes reflect the hope Jesus gives us that a new day is possible. Jesus suggests an answer: when we have lost the capacity to wonder, we need to become like children again. We need to be with children and learn from them. We can then experience the joy of wonder.
Think about the excitement of falling in love with Jesus the very first time. There is nothing that can compare to the sense of wonder and awe. You want to get out and build the kingdom. You want to learn all that you can about Jesus’ life, the bible. You want to grow closer and closer to God through prayer and meditation. Life is suddenly so full and exciting. When you begin then to experience God’s presence in the people and world around us we become like the crowds who gathered around Jesus as he healed, taught, and welcomed the world into a life with God. “They all shook their heads in wonder, astonished at God's greatness, God's majestic greatness (Luke 9:43).” If we change the way we approach other people and the world around us, we may be astonished by what God has waiting for us. If you are willing, you will be open to the movement of God in your life and the life around you. “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well (Psalm 119:14).”