I think about those priests at the temple when Jesus was a boy, wondering what child is this that has such knowledge of God and I think about how they must have been in awe. They must have wondered about what was happening and where God was trying to take them with this child. Now, those who know me best know what a terrible sense of direction I have. I have come to terms with this. I can get lost with my GPS. So there have been many a times in my travels where I have sat there wondering where I was and if I was ever going to arrive at my destination.
A few years back, I decided to take Maia out for a hike in Terrywile state park in December. It was chilly but not bad, no snow. I was very careful to try to follow the marked trees. Somehow I ended up lost in the woods anyway kind of wandering around for hours. The dog was in doggy heaven because in our wanders in that peaceful wooded area we came across deer, birds and fox. Looking back on it, it was quite beautiful. But as a wandered, I wondered to myself about the purpose of this experience. Where was I being lead? And most importantly would I find my way out of this?
Eventually we came to a stone wall leading to the yard and driveway of a business. And I said, “Well it is not the intended way out. But it is a way out”. So I lifted the dog over the wall and then, in a very clumsy way climbed over the wall myself. It had been quite some time since I last climbed a wall. And we found our way to the road and called Bill for help.
As scary as a situation like that could be, I must say that for the majority of it, I found peace watching nature. I found joy in the response of my dog to deer and fox for the first time. I felt God in those moments speaking to me louder than I had in years. I never had the time to sit down and listen anymore. I had no choice in the silence than to remain calm and just feel God’s presence. I didn’t let the wonder, the confusion of my situation scare me though perhaps I should have. I felt as if I was wandering with God. We have a choice life, we can either wander around panicking at each hick up, scared of life feeling utterly alone or we can accept God’s invitation to join in the wonder of Christ, the wonder of God’s love feeling his presence in our wanderings. We are being invited to listen to Christ’s wisdom and to wander through this life with him in the lead.
One of my favorite Christmas songs is I Wonder as I Wander. It is a quiet song about curiosity and wonder around Jesus who was brought here for our good for the good of human kind. The first and last verses of the song say, “I wonder and I wander, out under the sky, How Jesus the Savior did come for to die for poor ordinary people like you and like I. I wonder as I wonder, out under the sky”. It makes sit in wonder about Jesus and God and their role in the world today. I am left with a question, “Have we, as a society, lost the curiosity, the wonder as we approach God?” Do we ever just sit in wonder? Do we ever ask the question: Who is this child, who is this savior? And where is he leading me?
Curosity and wonder are just as much a part of the Christmas season as the birth story of Jesus. It is about God doing the seemingly impossible in Israel thousands of years ago. But it is also a reminder that God continues to do the impossible in our lives. Jesus sat in that temple asking questions and listening to answers and even as a small child had an understanding of God that struck awe in the hearts of those who listened. This awe and curiosity around the savior is present for a reason. It is a reminder of the curiosity and wonder we are to carry with us in our hearts throughout our lives. So as we go forth to prepare for a new week, find time to wonder, ask questions and express the awe of the Holy. It just might reveal to you a new truth you never saw before. God might be leading you into a new kind of relationship, a new kind of life. When we wander we are not always lost. Sometimes there is purpose in the experience of wandering. So we are being told to be curious enough to explore those moments and to be in wonder of God’s work in those moments.
 Hymns for a Pilgrim People, 117.
 Luke 2: 46-47, NRSV.
(based on Luke 2: 41-52)