Day 17: Wednesday

Wednesday: Reflect,

part II. As you reflect on the Gloria (Luke 2:9-14) today, read through your journal and note the things that God seems to be highlighting for you in your reading. What prayer or thanksgiving arises from this passage? What do you want to say to God about what he is showing you?

Throughout this meditation on the Canticles of Luke, we have been practicing the Lectio Divina approach to prayer and reading, walking through the four movements during the course of each week and each Canticle: Read, Reflect, Respond and Rest. Lectio is one of the great treasures of the Christian tradition of prayer. This tradition of prayer, first practiced by the desert fathers and adopted by Benedict for use in the monasteries he founded, flows out of a Hebrew method of studying the Scriptures, which was called haggadah. Haggadah was an interactive interpretation of the Scriptures by means of the use of the text to explore its inner meaning. It was part of the devotional practice of the Jews in the days of Jesus. Today, Lectio Divina is practiced by all who want to be transformed by an encounter with God’s word. The daily encounter with Christ and reflection on His word leads beyond mere acquaintanceship to an attitude of friendship, trust, and love. As you respond to God’s word today, think about this attitude of friendship, trust and love with Christ that leads to a deeper communion with Him.

William-Adolphe_Bouguereau_(1825-1905)_-_Song_of_the_Angels_(1881)
William-Adolphe_Bouguereau_1825-1905_-_Song_of_the_Angels_1881
As we have explored the Gloria, we have covered two themes encompassed by its text: the theme of Glory and the theme of Peace. Today, we will explore the third theme from the song of the angels, The Gloria, the theme of wonder and awe. Wonder is both a noun and a verb. To possess wonder is to be (a verb) filled with admiration, amazement, or awe; to marvel. A thing of wonder (a noun) refers to something strange and surprising; a cause of the emotion excited by what is strange and surprising; a feeling of surprised or puzzled interest, sometimes tinged with admiration: a miraculous deed or event; a remarkable phenomenon. Some have argued that this wonder and awe is exactly what is missing from today’s world. It is not that there is no cause for wonder, but rather that we have lost our ability to approach the world as if it is wonder-full.

 

This approach to life is not passive, but requires will. We can choose to be dull in the presence of glory; to yawn when we should exult; to cross our arms when we should be applauding. In our “whatever” culture, it’s become common to be non -plussed when we encounter something spectacular. But there’s something wrong with our hearts when something great only brings a drowsy interest. A century ago, G. K. Chesterton wrote, “The world will never starve for want of wonders, but only for want of wonder.”

 

In his classic book, Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis writes, “If I find in myself desires which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” Paul David Tripp, in his book,
Awe: Why It Matters for Everything We Think, Say, and Do  
argues that “Human beings are hardwired for awe. We are worshipers. We are searching for joy, hope, and fulfillment. This longing is deep in the heart of every human being. It wanders around in your soul. Your heart cries out every day to be enveloped by the glory of God. And whether we know it or not, that desire to be amazed, moved, and satisfied is actually a universal craving to see God face-to-face. For we are on a quest for life. And there are only two places to look: we can search for life in what He created or we can look to our Creator, for whom and by whom all things exist.”

 

The recovery of real wonder begins in the presence of God, aware of our desire to see God face-to-face, to encounter his Glory. You can recover wonder this Christmas. Luke 2:16 tells us that the shepherds dropped everything and ran to Bethlehem. They raced through the streets, searcing in every stable for newborns. Finally, they “found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby was lying in the feed trough.” They were in the very presence of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. They had seen the resplendent light, heard the sounds, confirmed the signs. The thunder of the angels chorus, the Gloria, was replaced by the cooing of a nursing infant, and wonder crowded out every other emotion.

 

 

  • As we encounter the story of Jesus’ birth, it is surely wonder with which we must approach it. As you listen to the song of the angels, open your heart to wonder. Let the glory of His nearness to you penetrate past your defenses. What comes to mind? Note this in your journal.
  • Consider the Shepherds hearing this amazing angel chorus. How did they respond? Luke 2:17 tells us. ” After seeing [them], they reported the message they were told about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.” Consider your own response to this wonder-full news. Do you let the truth in, drop your guard and allow yourself to be overwhelmed by the glory of it? If so, does it will flow from you like an artesian well of joy, and wonder in Christ which you long to share?
  • Think about how a child sees Christmas. If you recover the eyes of a child, full of wonder, as you approach the story of Jesus’ birth, what prayer arises in your heart? How does it change your desire to worship him? How does this desire to worship him with wonder and awe transform your life? Note this in your journal.