“This holiday season, give the gift of wonder.”
They are words on a billboard, advertising a children’s museum. I see them in the morning on my way to work, glaring down at me in bright red and green letters.
I don’t have time to stop and wonder. I’m late. But the light turns red and I’m forced to pause beneath those words that say, “the gift of wonder.”
What is wonder?
When I use the word, I usually mean something like, “I have a vague interest in something-or-another.” Like when I say, “I wonder what we’ll have for dinner?” or “I wonder what that means?”
But there’s another, and, I suspect, more correct way to use the word, as, “this amazes and overwhelms me, and even, perhaps, makes me a little bit afraid.” Like when I say, “The stars are wonderful tonight,” or “Seeing the great horse filled the little girl with wonder.”
The billboard says, “give the gift of wonder.”
I don’t know how to give the gift of wonder, but I do know Advent is making me wonder more and more every day.
I read in Isaiah the reading for the second Sunday of Advent. It’s a promise that God will clear a pathway through the desert for the people of Israel. It reads, “Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low; the rugged land shall be made a plain, the rough country, a broad valley.”
Every valley filled in? Every mountain made low? Impossible. And yet…the power of God could do such a thing. I read those words, I meditate on them, I picture mountains leveled and valleys filled in, and I’m filled with wonder.
What is more wonder-filling than a tiny baby? What is even more wonder-filling than a tiny baby who is the Son of God?
I think about that, and those mountains and valleys, and am filled with wonder. Amazement, yes, and a little bit of fear.