Turn to Wonder

The Oxford Dictionary defines wonder as, “a feeling of amazement and admiration, caused by something beautiful, remarkable, or unfamiliar.”

I once heard life’s trajectory described in the following way: “Children—Wonder Years. Teen—Challenge Years. Young Adult—Searching Years. Adult—Journey Years. Senior—Wisdom Years.”

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” (Matthew 19:14)

These statements make me ponder . . . what role does wonder play in our faith journey?

Here are three of my favorite writings on wonder:

“Blessed be the longing that brought you here and quickens your soul with wonder. May you have the courage to listen to the voice of desire that disturbs you when you have settled for something safe. May you have the wisdom to enter generously into your own unease to discover the new direction your longing wants you to take. May the forms of your belonging—in love, creativity, and friendship—be equal to the grandeur and the call of your soul. May the one you long for long for you. May your dreams gradually reveal the destination of your desire. May a secret Providence guide your thought and nurture your feeling. May your mind inhabit your life with the sureness with which your body inhabits the world. May your heart never be haunted by ghost-structures of old damage.” (John O’Donohue, “For Longing,” To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings)

“Do not pray for easy lives; pray to be stronger [. . .] Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers; pray for powers equal to your tasks! Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you yourself shall be a miracle. Every day you shall wonder at yourself, at the richness of life which has come to you by the grace of God.” (Phillips Brooks, “Going up to Jerusalem”, Twenty Sermons)

“May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you,

wherever He may send you.

May He guide you through the wilderness,

protect you through the storm.

May He bring you home rejoicing

at the wonders He has shown you.

May He bring you home rejoicing

once again into our doors.”

(The Celtic Book of Prayers, “Blessing”)

For me, wonder is a spiritual practice. It is an intentional invitation to move beyond my assuredness, assumptions, even arrogance, and into a state of openness that asks the question, “I wonder what is God up to . . . I wonder where the Spirit might be leading . . . I wonder what following in the way of Jesus would look like in this situation . . . I wonder how the Beloved Community might be being birthed in this situation?”

As we begin the Advent journey of waiting and watching, I wonder what adding wonder to our day brings forth for us.

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