Music and the Spoken Word

Childlike Wonder - Sunday, December 7, 2014

What is it that makes this such a magical time of year? Undoubtedly, part of the reason is the eager smiles and happy anticipation of the children around us. The air seems to tingle with their joy and excitement. Yet, as we age, we sometimes lose that innocent, joyous outlook.
The poet William Edgar Stafford was once asked when he decided to become a poet. His response was that “everyone is born a poet.” He said: “I just kept on doing … what everyone starts out doing. The real question is why did the other people stop?”1
It’s a good question for all of us: When did we set aside that childlike wonder, the exuberance and creativity of our youth? And how can we recapture it? Christmas is the perfect time to “become as a little child” once more, and learn to trust and delight in the world around us.
Imagine how Christmas might be different this year if you saw it through a child’s eyes again. Sing a holiday song with the gusto you once did, not worrying about how your voice sounds. Catch a snowflake on your tongue. Write a letter to someone you love. Enjoy sparkling lights, sleigh bells, the fragrant smells of pine and cinnamon, and the mystery of a package tied with a beautiful bow.
Reach out to the children around you. Just spending time with a child can revive our spirits. Their thrill of anticipation and discovery is contagious, and we cannot help sharing in their laughter and joy.
Christmas is, after all, the celebration of the birth of a child, full of promise. So much of the season’s imagery turns our hearts to a hopeful future. The evergreen Christmas tree itself reminds us that if we’re not green, we’re not growing. Trying new things, expanding our circles of friendship, looking for opportunities to give, seeking for wonder and joy—these efforts keep us young and our outlook fresh. It’s almost a matter of giving ourselves permission to enjoy life again, to reawaken the child inside each one of us, find room in our hearts for amazement, and stay, forever, green.

- Joni Hilton

1. In Eugene H. Peterson, Run with the Horses: The Quest for Life at Its Best (1983), 31.