A few nights ago, I turned the car onto a long road heading home, and I gasped.
The moon was low in the sky, four times its usual size, glowing brighter than usual. The shadow of its three-quarter disc fell across the upper right quadrant, so that it looked like an immense and luminous chipped pearl suspended above the darkening skyline.
I tried not to stare too long as I drove.
I’ve been reading Out of the Silent Planet, and all its marveling at “the heavens” probably led me to think further about this sight longer than I would have. Whatever the cause — I stopped at a red light and let wonder in.
For the first time I was awestruck that I was looking upon something that was present at the creation of life on this world. Here we are, and there she is; by and large, the face she shows us is the face Abraham saw with the innumerable stars, and the face Adam might have looked on at length, that first night out of Eden.
Wonder, thanks be to God, is contagious.
Three weeks ago I rolled a double-seater shopping cart into a discount warehouse. The girls spotted the Christmas decoration aisle as soon as we turned the corner. “Mommy, look! It’s so pretty!” Lucy exclaimed, while Little Jo let out a steady string of long wow‘s all the way down the concrete stretch.
They turned heads; we were our very own parade float of appreciative pre-holiday enthusiasm. We toured the aisles of trees and illuminated lawn ornaments as Lucy named each one for Little Jo: snowman, Santa, reindeer, bells.
And though it wasn’t even Halloween yet, and I had to double-time my pace past the lavish displays of children’s toys, for once I didn’t complain inwardly about commercialism. I found myself looking forward to Christmas, too — not for any of the items that could be bought off of those shelves, but for this time of year when even embrittled souls are offered a glimpse into the wonder of a child.
There is a mercy hidden in awe, a mercy that makes the sharing and the seeking of it worthwhile.
A driver captivated by a moon hundreds of thousands of miles away knows her place. I know that I can no more impact that heavenly body than a flea in China can affect me — provided we don’t go into any butterfly-effect convolutions here. Meanwhile, the moon illumines the earth, divides our calendar, drives the tides; by her I’m helped to not think of myself more highly than I ought.
Awestruck wonder winds me down to the position of a small child in a cart not under my control, watching things I can’t explain but which I find to be beautiful and beyond my small powers of imagination.
In this position, I understand that God is not at all like a doting mother sending care packages down to a busy college student occupied with “life,” but that he is a King from whose throne messengers are sent out by edict to answer our prayers (see Daniel 9:20-23 — it’s awe-inspiring indeed). I perceive the momentousness of heaven stooping low to listen to creatures of earth, and see with new eyes the unlikely place made for me before Him.
Wonder allows the weight of His love to break fully upon us.
So I pray that today might bring something of a child’s eye view to you, friends.
And I pray, if you’ve needed it, that you find all this talk of wonder contagious.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
– Psalm 8:3-9, ESV