The Monday after Easter, Mary and I received a card in the mail. Enclosed was a picture of our grand-nephew who just came into the world. Obviously, the baby is cute as can be. But there is more. I thought his expression was filled with wonder. Can you blame him? One minute he was in the comfort of his mother’s belly and the next minute he is thrust into a brave new world. He has about him a look of amazement, excitement, and even a sense of surprise.
You can probably tell—the picture of this baby—made his old, crusty, “grand uncle.” take a deep breath and for a brief moment push the pause button. That is what wonder does best. Pause. Breathe. Surprise. Delight. The words start flowing. These are not grumpy, complaining, ornery words but gentle, light, fresh thoughts of a man who has his arms wide open and is excited by this dance of joy. It is the celebration of new life and “nothing but joy” (James1:2).
Unfortunately, wonder has a way of sometimes playing second-fiddle. It doesn’t always fit in an aggressive, fast-moving, high-tech world. That is too bad. Because the more I gazed at the picture before me, the more I realized how our capacity to wonder is closely connected and interrelated to the gift of joy. Wonder is a source, or stream, that flows into joy and it provides us with the ability to simply cut loose and rejoice. It leads us to saying “Yes” to life. And it multiplies over and over again, a thousand times a thousand, as we become aware and join the psalmist who sing to this little baby and to anyone who will listen: “this is the day the Lord has made and we will rejoice and be glad in it!” (Psalm 118:24)
Don’t you see? God invites us into this life of joy. We are on top of our game when we live into joy and wonder and are then able to set aside the stress, anxiety, and worry which oftentimes leads us to a place that is less than productive. Stick with wonder and allow it to lead you to joy. Of course, Easter is a perpetual understanding of new life. Wonder. Joy. And Jesus.
Recall that on the night before he was betrayed, Jesus discussed the importance of joy. In fact, he went so far as to say, “I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11). Complete as in whole, unbroken, and eternal with God. Sure, suffering is never far behind but be assured Jesus is saying, joy is stronger than grief and troubled hearts. Hold on to joy this Easter season and allow Jesus to lead you forward. Relax. Be at peace. Look at the baby. Join in the celebration and the dance of new life. As we come together at the empty tomb, take a moment and breathe. Pause. Be assured miracles happen. Be surprised by the resurrection. Now is the time to wonder and experience joy that comes with living in and trusting God. Don’t forget, Jesus was the one who said, “let the little children come to me. For to such belongs the Kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:14). Jesus is King of the Kingdom. His character reflects the Kingdom. There is plenty of joy, wonder and delight in the Kingdom. We are born again. Love permeates the Kingdom and, “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends” (I Cor. 13:7) This Easter season allow yourself to wonder and picture, imagine the Kingdom, on earth just as it is in heaven.