Wondering where the Christmas wonder went

By Lori Borgman

We are watching “Miracle on 34th Street” with three of the grands, the oldest of whom is six. She leans over and whispers, “Those two believe, but I don’t.” She casts a knowing look and has a slight upward tilt of the chin that says she’s one of us now.

I nearly wonder if I should offer her some coffee and tell her where I hide good dark chocolate in the kitchen.

Sweet, but I hope she never completely loses her sense of wonder.

Nearly every Christmas morning as a child I woke up with a profound sense that the world was different.

Oh, sure the chubby guy in the red suit had made a delivery (wink, wink), but that wasn’t it. It was that a baby had been born in the deep of night. I always imagined it was probably after midnight, when all the world would be asleep, and before 5 a.m., when all the farmers would be awake.

The time came for the baby to be born and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.

I knew the birth had to be something special because it was a divide in time. Our calendars said so — B.C. and A.D. — before Christ and anno domini, the year of our Lord.

I knew it had happened long ago and far away, in a stable of sorts that was much like a barn. There had been animals about, straw no doubt, and a feeding trough.

She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room at the inn.

Adults talked like it was a shame that a baby had been born in a place like a barn, but I thought it was wonderful. My mother sometimes asked if I had been born in a barn. I wished I had. I spent many an afternoon in my Grandpa’s barn and it was a wonderful place full of light and shadow, hiding places, plank floors, wooden ladders, hay bales and nooks and crannies for momma cats and newborn kittens. It would be a marvelous place for a baby to be born, too.

My depth of understanding regarding the needs of newborns was on a par with the depth of theology. But there was a sense of wonder then that sometimes eludes me now.

My theology is deeper today and my faith mature, in part because it has been tested time and time again. Frequently, I return to that first Christmas to regroup and start again. “God so loved the world, that he sent his only begotten Son.”

I have a good understanding of covenants, catechisms, creeds and doctrines. What I don’t understand, is where the wonder went.

What I would give to see the wonder of Christmas, once more, through the eyes of a child.

Lori Borgman is an Indianapolis columnist. Send comments to dr-editorial@greenfieldreporter.com