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Advent Day Twenty: A Persistent State of Marveling

The shepherds had abandoned their field in the middle of that balmy summer evening. They sought out that holy Babe. And as soon as they found Him, they made Him known. Telling the things of Him. And how they found Him. And everyone who heard it marveled.

because it’s natural to marvel at the marvelous

To be astounded when He does the things that are beyond the power of human-shepherds. Like the years-long barren woman conceiving. And the pure and chaste virgin to suddenly be with child. And He-whom-the-heavens-cannot-contain being found wrapped up tight with strips of cloth. And angels dramatically illuminating the blackened night sky and singing that heavenly song. Glory to God in the highest.

All those things – He did. Gabriel was right when he declared that with God nothing will be impossible.

He makes the impossible … possible. He makes the difficult … easy. And He does it all perfectly. And wonderfully. And marvelously. Continually. Again and again. Over and over.

And I wonder if somehow along the way, I’ve become like the confused old man in that well-beloved movie scurrying around on the floor in Hook. You know the scene – the one where he’s looking for his marbles.

have we lost our marvel?

In the hustle and the bustle and the lists and the decorating. In the shopping and cooking and preparing. And in the social media distractions of showing the world – proving somehow – that we’re doing all those things… have we lost the marvel? Have we lost the wonder of Advent? It’s easy to do. To get distracted and too busy to give Him thought. Or make Him room. It seems that even from His birth, it was difficult for people to fit Him in. The Greek says it all in the language of the phrase. When the shepherds shared their story, the people marveled. But if you do a quick study on the tense of the verb, you’ll see something interesting. Surprising. Sad, really. Their marveling? It was a one-time thing. A single, specific, one-point-in-time action that had already happened in the past. And after the excitement died down, and life went back to normal, their marveling died right along with it.

But those human-shepherds? They were different. They probably shone with glory – like Moses did after spending time with God on the mountain. They had seen God face to face when they looked into the face of that Babe that was promised. They couldn’t stop talking about it. And, again, the Greek language gives a deeper look. Because, for those shepherds, the tense of their talking was present. And active. It indicated a state of persistence. A continuous and habitual action. The kind that reflects a lifestyle. Suddenly, almost overnight, they had gone from quiet and unassuming shepherds to evangelists.

And through all the chatter,

Mary pondered

She watched the buzz and experienced the glory and welcomed the strangers that had traveled so hastily to see her glory-Babe. She heard the chatter in the street and through all the noise, she chewed on it. Quietly. Continually. And persistently. She was just as intent in her pondering as the shepherds in their preaching. Because she was encompassed round about by glory. And had just birthed the highest-top-of-the-tree-Immanuel whom they would officially name Jesus in just a couple of days. And she couldn’t quite keep up with it all. Between the exhaustion and sleep deprivation and the learning curve of becoming a first-time-mom in a stable while her foretold-of-Babe-of-divine-conception slept in a crib built for fodder, she was overwhelmed. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. And probably a little confused. And even if she could keep up with it all, she was in a foreign city. Thrust into a fishbowl of conspicuous favor. Who could she possibly talk to?  So she pondered.  Continually. Actively. Habitually.

sometimes that God-breathed-glory needs to percolate for awhile

And those human-shepherds? They returned home. With hearts newly turned to the Savior born-unto-them. They went back home different men than the ones that had left in such a rush. And as they did, they glorified God. Praising Him. Their hearts swelling over that swaddled Babe. Singing the same song the angels sang and causing the dignity and worth of Him to become manifest in their words. They went home singing.

LORD, I pray that I can maintain my marvel over Your marvelous works. That my marvel-over-Your-marvelous would not be one specific, single-point-in-time action that has happened in the past. I ask that in these last couple of days before Christmas, I can make You room. Help me to linger long in Your presence. That Your Word would be the distraction and not the other way around. And I pray in the days after, when the gifts have been given and lights unplugged and the seasonal decorations put away, that my song still be the same. Praising You. With an indicated state of persistence.

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