Wonder – Reflections for the Alternative Carol Service

These were written as a series of short reflection for a new type of carol service before Christmas. They were interspersed throughout the service, which had Bible readings and updated versions of carols in it.

Introduction – Signposts to Wonder

All I see is the mess that surrounds me – 
All I hear is the noise and the clamour – 
All I feel is the pressure upon me – 
demands and deadlines compete for my time.
Together, they threaten to engulf me,
To steal away peace and trouble my dreams.
I try to hide it, but cannot fight it
The despair that’s rising and growing in me.

Is this all there is? Can’t we hope for more?
Still yourself long enough, look and you’ll see
Clues of a deeper truth – reality.
It’s in the embrace of your faithful friend,
It’s in the laughter of the innocent,
It’s in the tears of solidarity,
It’s in starlit skies and autumn colours
These signposts that invite you to wonder.

Wonder at love and joy and at beauty
Where do they come from and what do they mean?
Could they be chance, with no rhyme or reason,
Or are they signs of purpose and meaning?
In the midst of the fog of confusion
Come and explore for a moment with me
The true story of love beyond measure
The reason for hope, for life, and wonder.

Reflection – Part 2 – In the beginning was  … Hope

In the beginning was … Hope. 
Light. A pinprick. Dazzling bright. 
Piercing the darkness.
Because in the beginning you were right here with me
You saw every moment, you saw and stepped in. 
When I was flailing and failing, 
To us a child is born … to me. Even me.
When I’m confused and confounded
To us a son is given .. to me, even me.
When I’ve lost my way and fear for the future
The government will be on his shoulders
You bear the weight that I cannot carry.
When I need advice, when I pour our my heart
He will be called wonderful counsellor. .. you counsel me.
When surrounded by what seems to be impossible
He will be called mighty God … I remember you’re far stronger than me.
When I need to be held, 
He will be called Everlasting Father – I can be
When I need to be quieted – He will be called Prince of peace.
Because of you, I can be still. 
Your light shines bright and hope dawns in my heart.

Reflection – Part 3 – This Child

I’ve held a newborn child. 
Utterly vulnerable, dependent on me. 
I’ve known that feeling of awe and wonder
As the heart beat nineteen to the dozen in that tiny chest.
I’ve felt the grip of those minute fingers, 
surprised by the strength within.
I’ve looked into those eyes with tears in my own
And felt the love surging through my being.
This life I held was a miracle.
How much more the One who was born that night?
The One wrapped in cloths and placed in a manger
Just like any other child, yet unlike anyone who has ever lived.
This child whose tiny fingers gripped his mothers’
Was the one who has the world in his hands.
This child whose heart beat in that tiny chest 
Was the one who gives life to everyone.
This tiny child was bigger than the universe. 

Reflection – Part 4 – Born to save

This tiny child was born to save
That’s what the angels said.
That’s what they sang 
as their praises lit the midnight sky.
Born to save
Not just the sorted, 
the good
the great
the worthy
But born to save
Ordinary people
Born to save me with my mess and my muddle,
my doubts, insecurities, flailing and failings.
No wonder the shepherds ran to see
If it was real
Or was it fake news,
Too good to be true.
They ran with hope and returned with joy
It was true. 
This tiny child was born
For me.
For you.

Reflection – Part 5 – Come and see

Come and see what love has done.
Come and see your worth to him.
Come and see and wonder
Wonder at the One who saw 
our brokenness
our mess. 
And stepped in. 
Jesus.
Immanuel
God with us
Wonder at his name.
He wove together a beautiful tapestry
From the broken threads of our humanity.
He brought hope, healing, redemption,
This redeeming work goes on. 
It began that night,
That night of wonder.
As I gaze upon 
that scene of infinite love
in infinitesimal form
I am filled with wonder.

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