It sits there under the tree. Beautiful … unopened … new. A gift holds wonder and hope of good things wrapped up inside.

Wonder. It’s part of the season, as the familiar scent of pine triggers memories of Christmas's past. Photos remind us of how time marches on as children grow from year to year. Rolls of gift wrap lean against the wall, all silvery and red and white.

Gingerbread cookies with Red Hots buttons and pink frosting smiles sit on the counter. Carols play endlessly as we go the extra mile to create an ambiance of the season with soft slippers, fires lit in the fire place and a warm cup of something.

There will be concerts and parades and parties. We’ll eat too many cookies and maybe gain a few extra pounds. Anticipation mounts at the thought of gathering with loved ones and the joy on faces as gifts are opened. It all really is magical.

And then, there …

Beautifully displayed but perhaps easily forgotten, waits the Nativity.

It sits plain, peaceful and calm in stark contrast to the lights and tinsel. And isn't that what the gospel is? Simple and beautiful. It is the love story that began in the garden and continues on, weaving our names right into it. What a wondrous and humbling thought!

Wonder. What is it and how do I get it?

Wonder: “a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable” (Webster’s Dictionary)

Wonder is the thought that the God of the universe went to great lengths to make a way that I can know Him. That you can know Him. And truly, I am in awe - when I slow enough to acknowledge it. It is an awesome thought that a King left splendor to be born in the most unlikely of places - a barn in Bethlehem.

The wonder of Christmas is Immanuel. God is with us. Love came down to meet us. Here. Where we are. This is the Gift that has been prepared for us since creation.

As we enjoy the glitter and twinkle and celebration of this beautiful season, let’s slow in the coming days to marvel at the greatest gift of Christmas. Let’s not let this Christmas pass without preaching the gospel to ourselves. Let the true Gift of Christmas inspire us to wonder and worship. O come let us adore Him.

Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas.

Olivia Brant

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