Simply Amazing

Are you willing to be amazed? That was the title of a reflection I read last week and it really had me pondering.

When was the last time you let yourself simply be amazed? A time when you let awe and wonder take over your usual analytical approach to life and its happenings. How often we forfeit our sense of awe and wonder, that God-given gift that is the gateway to our understanding of just who God is.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel talks about wonder leading to radical amazement and its essential place in the beginnings of wisdom, true wisdom that informs and sustains our faith.

 “The beginning of awe is wonder and the beginning of wisdom is awe.” Awe is the sense for the mystery beyond all things. It enables us to sense in small things the beginning of infinite significance.

Are you still with me? This can sound confusing but it shouldn’t be. God has gifted us with wonders in abundance. Wonders that, if we are open to them and aware of them, can lead us to an abundance of awe and amazement that can make our lives almost magical. How do we tap into this gift? How do we find it again? Spend some time with children.

The capacity for awe, wonder, and amazement is on vivid display in the faces of children especially at this time of year. Their minds are aware of the awesomeness around them and their hearts are open to the joy it brings. They don’t have to make sense of the flying reindeer. They don’t have to worry about the accumulation of snow. They don’t care if that tree full of sparkling do-dads isn’t standing straight. They just take it all in and store it in their hearts as something good about life.

As we grow, our capacity for awe, wonder, and amazement doesn’t seem to grow with us. Quite the opposite happens. We tend to lose our awareness of the wonders around us. Our hearts grow more skeptical and cynical than open. We’ve learned to analyze, predict, and control instead of just taking in the wonders and storing them in our hearts as something good about life, something good about God.

During Advent we are encouraged to be on watch. Be vigilant. Let’s be on watch for the wonders that God will provide for us. Those inexplicable moments of grace when our childlike sense of awe and amazement gets dusted off and we once again know God.

Last week I stopped in at a local furniture store. A kind looking gentleman approached me right away and asked what I was interested in seeing and pointed me in the right direction. As I was walking away he said, “Let me know if I can help you with anything else. My name is Emmanuel.”



I prayed for wonders
instead of happiness
and you gave them to me.
               Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

Joan Carey, Firstfruits executive director, is an author and speaker with a passion for helping women grow in their relationships with God. Her Ponder This book contains a series of modern day parables sure to get you thinking about and seeing our extraordinary God in our ordinary experiences. Joan invites you to use resources on this website for daily reflection in your journey to grow in God's loving care for you.
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