I have always loved Christmas. For me, Christmas has never lost its wonder. It’s easy to see wonder in the bright eyes of a child. For children, Christmas is magical. It can be more difficult to see wonder in the weary eyes of some adults. For too many adults, Christmas is more of a worry than a wonder.

Wonder is a childlike gift, not childish, but childlike. Wonder sets our imagination in motion. It brings to life a sense of marvel within us. Someone once said, “You know you’re old when you’ve lost all your marvels.”

Does Christmas hold for you the same wonder and joy as it did when you were a child? When I was a child, the story of Mary and Joseph and the baby in a manger, of shepherds in the fields, of an angel chorus, and of kings bearing gifts, filled me with wonder. When I was a youngster, the first thing we did as a family on Christmas morning, before racing downstairs to the Christmas tree to tear open our gifts, was to read the Christmas story from Luke’s gospel. Forme the story has never grown old. It is a story that still fills me with warmth and wonder even though I know it by heart.

Wonder is so much a part of the Christmas story. As you read the familiar story in the Gospel of Luke, can you feel the quickened beat of Mary’s heart? Can you sense the shepherds’ fear when the angels appear to them in the nighttime sky? Can you capture the curiosity of the Magi as they gaze into the heavens at a star they had never seen before? As you read the Christmas story can you hear the angels’ song or the baby’s soft cry?

Christmas offers an invitation to wonder ­­— an invitation to look at things more closely and to listen more carefully, perhaps with the eyes and ears of a child. It is an invitation to look beyond the colorful wrappings, the greenery and the twinkling lights. Beyond the busy streets with crowded shops and lines of youngsters waiting to sit on Santa’s lap. Beyond all the things that almost crowd Jesus out of Christmas, to a stable, a star, a shepherd and a Savior.

The true wonder of Christmas is the love of God. There is no greater sign of God’s love than the gift of God’s Son.

“For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

God’s Christmas message for each one of us is, “I love you, and to prove it I give you my Son to be your Savior.”

This Christmas become a child again. Rekindle your sense of wonder. Hear the story as if you were hearing it for the very first time. Tremble with the shepherds, burst into song with the angels, kneel among the animals peering into the manger, journey with the kings bringing their gifts to the Savior.

Beyond all the wonder, allow your faith to be renewed. Open your heart to the love that God has for you. “For a child has been born to us, a Son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

I wish you all a very merry Christmas, a Christmas filled with warmth and wonder.

Terry Martinson is the interim minister at Edgartown Federated Church.