During the holidays, we enjoy tales of wonder, whether about oil that miraculously lasted eight nights or the story of of angels, virgin birth and a guiding star. Even the secular celebrations in December leave kids wide-eyed with tales of flying reindeer.
Children are easily swept up in wonderment during the holidays, but adults are often tasked with the chores of creating this magical experience, which can lead to feeling harried rather than awestruck. As a gift to yourself, remember to welcome wonder into your holiday season.
To wonder involves allowing for uncertainty. Miracles defy understanding. Yet, in our modern world, we know more and more about the workings of the universe, so instead of experiencing awe and magic, we are oriented toward science and certainty. I confess that I usually prefer it this way. I want to know how things work, why things happen and how things get done. I like to know, and uncertainty makes me anxious. These days I wonder what the new year will bring, where my son will go to college and what my life will feel like when I have an empty nest after over 20 years of day-in-day-out parenting.
Today, I exhale deeply and remind myself to embrace not knowing, to access wonder. Wonder is both curiosity and awe. We are filled with wonder when we experience the inexplicable. What are your transcendent experiences of wonder during the holidays? Imagine a child’s upturned face as she marvels at holiday lights. Where do you experience such delight during the holidays? Spiritual music, lights in the darkness, community and family connection, anticipating the new year?
Faith is the belief in something we cannot confirm, religious or otherwise. What do you feel uncertain about in your life these days? Allow yourself to wonder how it might turn out well even if you can’t see a clear path to a positive outcome. Faith is an antidote to fear. Proceed with faith in yourself, in your community, in the divine. Think back to challenges in the past year that worked out better than you expected. Acknowledge life’s little and big miracles.
My mother jokes each year that one holiday miracle is that all the preparations get done. As I consider this year’s December to-do list, I wonder. . .and I have faith.