Recently my family watched WONDER, the movie. Auggie Pullman, born with facial differences, lived much of his life trying to hide his face and avoid the public eye. When the family decided to send him to a mainstream school, all of that changed. Showing his face forced him to deal with bullying, stares, and mockery.
Revealing his face, as it turned out, revealed more about the hearts of those around him. As hearts were exposed some refused to acknowledge the darkness there. And with a nothing-to-see-here mentality, they moved on unscathed… unchanged.
Others were enlightened and, through tears, admitted the darkness in their hearts. Perhaps, until they encountered Auggie, they had convinced themselves they didn’t have a problem with unkindness. Now, coming face to face with Auggie, they realized they were wrong.
Near the end of the movie Auggie’s mother told him, “You are a wonder.” Auggie’s humiliation eventually led to several classmates learning compassion and kindness. It changed the atmosphere of the school. Part of that “wonder” was presenting people with a point of crisis. By going public Auggie forced people to choose how they would treat him and deal with what was in their hearts.
In many ways, Christmas is about the Son of God going public. In doing so, Jesus presents us all with a point of crisis: we must all choose for ourselves what we will do with Jesus, the Wonder of Christmas. Do you see the Wonder of Christmas?
See the wonder of his sorrow.
“he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3 ESV).
Jesus understands the kid who is bullied on the playground. He understands the outcast. He’s been there. He’s felt sorrow and suffered. He has been rejected and shamed. The man of sorrows understands.
Jesus sympathizes with us in our weakness. We are invited to cast our anxiety on him, being confident he hears us and cares.
See the wonder of his love.
What motivated God to send his Son into the world? As the famed Bible passage says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 ESV).
Jesus was born because of God’s love for the world and his desire to rescue the perishing. Joy came to the world in order to bring us to the Father that we might be ushered into the riches of his love.
Here’s a wonder: God is love. And though we have turned our backs on God, Jesus came to make this loving Father known to us so we would experience life. Let our song be, “Show me the wonders of your great love…” (Psalm 17:7 NIV).
See the wonder of his kingdom.
The Christmas story is a kingdom story. It’s a story of the arrival of the King.
This is what Advent is all about: the kingdom of God drawing near in the birth of Jesus. With Christ’s birth the kingdom of darkness began to give way to the kingdom of light: “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:4-5 ESV).
What will you choose?
Jesus presents us all with a point of crisis. A choice is demanded. Will you join with magi and shepherds to see the Wonder of Christmas and worship Christ the newborn King?
I pray, this Christmas, you adore Christ. May God shine in your heart so you can see the Wonder of Christmas.
You are invited to our Christmas Eve service this Sunday at 5:00 PM!