Christmas. That single word has stirred up many different feelings in me for years. They could range from stress to solace, frantic to family, pressure to peace. It's fascinated me that one little word has so much emotion wrapped up in it. As I've gotten older, and I'd like to think wiser, I've yearned for a childlike approach to the season. A tea towel reminded me of that the other day.
I was standing in the bathroom and glanced over at the tea towel that reads, "Be filled with wonder." I'd chosen to leave this out years ago because I wanted to live that way everyday, not just during the holidays. The definition of wonder is: "a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable." What a gorgeous word! I knew I needed more wonder in my life, so I did not pack it away with the other decorations that year. I hadn't stopped to take in its meaning in awhile, but that little Voice inside me stopped me in my tracks. I was quickly reminded to slow down, count my blessings, and drink in the beauty all around me.
So I went outside. Have you stopped to relish the marvelous display of trees lately? That's exactly what I did. I took deep breaths of cool fall air into my lungs, opened my eyes, and put the world on hold to savor a few moments of God's artistry. I thanked Him for my senses that allowed me to have those moments. I thanked Him for being the most creative artist EVER, and for creating colors. (the world would be so boring in black and white.) I thanked Him for the changes of the seasons, and for the feelings that are associated with this time of year. I counted my blessings, one by one, and was blessed with renewal and wonder.
I began to decorate a few areas of my home. I just couldn't wait! Since leaving the hectic retail world, my passion for the holidays has intensified. (My sons might say to the point of lunacy, but I don't care) I've loved everything November and December bring since I was a child. Don't go a-changin' me boys. It simply won't work. Momma's bringing wonder into the house!
Walkerboy thought I'd forgotten about Thanksgiving. Not true! Thanksgiving has always been my favorite; the recipe research began a few days ago, and the turkeys and cornucopias were out the day after Halloween. I've simply added some garland and lights around the house. If Hallmark movies can do it, so can I! Speaking of Hallmark films, I've recorded and watched them all twelve months for years, so I consider myself an expert. Yes, I'm one of "those" people. At least I own my crazy. I even own the sweatshirt and wear it with pride. Thank you Hallmark, for movies filled with wonder.
Children have always been fascinating to me. I've spent most of my life teaching music to littles, and they never stopped teaching me a thing or two about life. Children have wonder. My students at Holy Cross would stop on a dime to watch a bug crawl across the sidewalk on the way to chapel. They noticed the small things adults sometimes missed. They were a daily inspiration to "be filled with wonder". If I could look past their runny noses and occasional whining, I'd find their kind hearts and infectious giggles. One of my life goals has always been to be more like them. Thank you God, for children filled with wonder.
I've often thought that grandchildren bless adults at just the right time, wanting to experience wonder again. They've lived enough "life" to know what is truly important, and can share that with their grandchildren. Now, don't start thinking I'm wanting grandchildren anytime soon. Whoa Nelly! Let's get these kids through college first, and married would be desirable. Calm down people. I have, however, begun to understand the attraction grandparenting could bring. I've been truly happy for my friends that have begun that adventure. I'll embrace it with open arms when it happens. Just not now. I literally just spilt coffee all over the ottoman, so I'm obviously not ready to help care for any more people. I can barely take care of myself, Lord help me. I'll thank God for grandchildren and the wonder they bring when my time comes.
I've made a renewed commitment to "be filled with wonder" this holiday season. The hustle and bustle, overscheduling and tension can take a backseat to flashes of awe, and a bit of peace. If I have to carry the tea towel with me wherever I go to remind myself, then that's what I'll do. Who's with me? Let "wonder" become your word for the holidays!
Here is the brilliant art show God blessed me with the other day. Aren't the trees glorious?