Weekly Reflection from Sr. Rosemary Finnegan, O.P.
Readings from: https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/122022.cfm

Last week, my 4-year-old grandnephew, Carter, and his Dad set up a little nativity set in Carter’s room.  When his Mom, my niece, came up to see it, Carter stopped, pointed to the baby, and with utter amazement in his voice, said: “Mom, did you know Jesus’ birthday is on Christmas?”

After I stopped laughing when I heard that story, I started thinking about how refreshing it was to hear Carter filled with wonder, and it challenged me to think about wonder in general.  We all have that sense of wonder, of feeling awe and amazement at the world around us.  Do we take the time in our busy lives, especially this week, to be ‘wowed’ and enthralled by even the smallest of things around us?  Do we let wonder renew us in mind and soul?

Pope Francis said recently that “God stirs wonder in us.” Wonder gives us perspective and reminds us that we are finite, part of something much greater, and that, for all our wanting to control things, there is mystery to life.  Wonder allows us to see beauty in a pineapple, or a sunrise, a newborn baby, or an unexpected act of kindness.  The poet Anne Lamott says: “Wonder takes our breath away and makes room for a new breath. That’s why they call it breathtaking.”

Today we heard the beautiful story of the Annunciation.  Mary was going about her ordinary day when the greatest wonder of all would happen to her.

She was asked to be the Mother of God, to bear a Son and call him Jesus.  He would be called the Son of the Most High and of his kingdom there would be no end.

The wonder of this awesome mystery left Mary amazed and astonished.  She would never be the same again. This experience energized her, and, with great enthusiasm, she left in haste to visit her pregnant cousin, Elizabeth.

Mary is teaching us to wonder and recognize, and say yes to, the sacred in our ordinary lives.  Wonder is a form of spirituality because it opens our eyes to the sacredness of life, something we often take for granted.  In a world that feels cold and divided, celebrating beauty and wonder are ways of bringing peace to ourselves and to one another.

Most importantly, in this final week of Advent, may we cultivate and increase our sense of wonder and awe at the mystery we are about to celebrate.  Take the time this week to really look at Jesus in your manger at home, or come to the Live Nativity on Thursday and silently reverence what you see.  Yes, little Carter, Jesus Christ, Son of God and our Savior, was born on Christmas Day.