In his nineties, Gypsy Smith was crossing the Atlantic on a steamer en route to a speaking engagement when a stranger approached him. “How do you do it, sir?” the stranger queried, continuing, “How do you still work so hard for the Lord, even in old age?”
The evangelist’s eyes held a certain twinkle as he replied, “My dear sir, I’ve never lost the wonder.”
Nothing can quite get you out of the wonder of the Christmas season like, well, the Christmas season. Hustling, treasure-troving, to and fro-ing, wrestling, rushing, partying, scheduling, tasking, and cramming all seem to characterize these frantic days and get us looking at everything but.
Al Andrews offers a tale1 from his own experience when he and his wife were encouraged – by a toddler, no less – to jam on the brakes and take in the wonder. After reading, you may want to gather the family, forget that next social…and just take a drive.
It had been one of those Christmas seasons, stressful and busy. We had been to one too many parties, had braved a couple of chaotic trips to the crowded Denver mall, addressed and sent cards and gifts, and even took in several holiday concerts.
By the time we were returning home from the Christmas Eve service, referring to my wife and me as Mr. and Mrs. Scrooge would not have been entirely inaccurate. While our 2-year-old son sat in his car seat, we were grumbling about it all, starting with picking apart the service we’d just attended. A mix of exhaustion and cynicism had settled in on us. It was not our finest hour.
In the midst of our conversation, we heard a voice from the back seat. We stopped talking and he was quiet. We continued our rant and we heard him say something, and again he was quiet. We felt it was our turn for silence and so we drove on, waiting to see if he would speak again.
As we passed by the next house, resplendent with lights on the trees and in the windows, a little voice from the back seat said slowly and articulately,
My wife and I looked at each other as tears welled up in our eyes. With one word, he had broken through our sullen spirits. While we were caught up in the mess, he had discovered wonder and beauty. In his own little way, he was looking at the Christ Child and rejoicing over His coming. Leave it to a 2-year-old.
We took the long way home that night, going through neighborhood. I don’t know how many times the three of us said the word “beautiful” but I do know we said it enough to return our hearts to what is true, and to remind ourselves of the reality that if we have eyes to see, the wonders of God surround us.
– Al Andrews
1 Taken from the Blood:Water Advent guide, December 3, 2015. I’ve supported Blood:Water for a short while, encouraged by their Kingdom labors in Africa, digging wells and providing clean water for 1 million thirsty souls, and ministering gospel love to thousands in AIDS-infested regions. Consider adding a gift to the Blood:Water ministry this Advent season and beyond. Go to their website <bloodwater.org> and learn more.