We have lost the mystery of this world. We go about our daily lives and are not filled with wonder at what happens. In this sermon, Greg shows how viewing the world like a child will increase how much wonder and mystery we see.
We are very familiar with the story of Jesus’ birth. Most of us have heard about the manger, the shepherds, the star and the wise men, and we have heard of the Immaculate Conception. There isn’t much new in the story that we need to learn about. We have lost all of our wonder surrounding the story of Christmas.
Children exemplify the wonder that we are supposed to have in this world. When they hear the story, it is brand new and wonderful to them. The sheep are amazing, the shepherds are amazing, the star and the wise men are amazing, and the baby Jesus is very amazing. Everything in the story is new to them, and they haven’t lost the mystery of the story. Because they haven’t lost the mystery, they haven’t lost the wonder of the story either.
To gain this wonder, we have to let go of our need to control everything and become less practical. Bonhoeffer says that people who have reduced the world to a calculated world have lost their ability to find the wonders in this world. When they know everything and try to control everything, they have no mystery and therefore no wonder.
When we know things and don’t have mystery, we begin to check out and go through the motions. We drive to work knowing what the roads look like and when traffic will come. We know the stories that we’re going to hear at Christmas and we go through the motions of listening and playing along. We know the illustrations that Greg is going to use, and we begin to think about what we’re going to have for lunch. When we don’t have mystery and wonder in our lives, we are finished with this world.
God experiences new things. When Jesus was born, it was a new experience for God. At no other time do we see God as a new baby in the Bible. And he wasn’t always incarnate until he stepped into humanity as this little baby. God began to experience the world as a child, a human being. By choosing to become present in this way, God showed his love for humanity. For when he chose to experience the world this way, he chose to take away that “already know” mindset. He became present with humanity and every new moment showed his love for humanity.
We should be imitators of God, becoming fully present to others. When we do this, we see the wonder of this world. Losing the “already know” mindset of our lives will free us to experience things as new. When we begin to experience things as new, we sense them with a wonderful mystery. We begin to see things as they are, and they can draw our attention and appreciation for them. Our child’s laughter will become new, like the first time we heard it. The story of Uncle John being Santa becomes funny like the first time we heard it.
Don’t look with the dull eyes of “already know”. If you can remove this veil from your eyes, you will begin to see the world with a wonder and a mystery. If we can do this, we begin to get past the mundane of this world and become enamored with this world. We should be fully there with everyone we meet, just like Jesus was fully with us when he came to this earth as a child.
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