Asheritah Ciuciu is the author of Unwrapping the Names of Jesus and Comfort Food: Overcoming Food Addiction with the Word of God. Asheritah grew up in Romania as a missionary kid and then studied English and Women's Ministry at Cedarville University in Ohio. Her passion is helping women find joy in Jesus through a deeper walk with God, and she shares vulnerably from her own life experiences on OneThingAlone.com. She is married to Flaviu, a web programmer and artist, and together they raise their spunky daughter in northeast Ohio.
In the middle of playing patty-cakes, my toddler stops short, awe and wonder written on her face, lips pursed in rapt attention, eyebrows knitted, finger stretched to the sky.
And then I hear it: a plane buzzing overhead.
A grin spreads wide across her face as the sound grows louder, her arm unwavering until the plane's engines are drowned out by the hushed silence.
I chuckle with her dad as we lock gazes over her head.
"One day," he says, "she's going to get used to that sound. And she won't care anymore."
I nod, knowing he's right, a mama's sadness settling in. What wonder a little child holds for everything in sight, what thirst for noticing, touching, tasting, holding, listening.
I'm used to living next to an airport, so I rush through my day without hearing one airplane, let alone the dozens that fly overhead.
And it's not just airplanes I don't notice: it's sparrow's songs, daffodil's colors, gorgeous sunsets, and children's laughter.
Like an unimpressed teenager looking at a colorless prism, I discard the paperweight and rush on with my important business, while a toddler is more apt to pay rapt attention as she holds it up to the light and watches myriad colors dance on the walls, giggling with glee as all shades of the rainbow invade her space.
I yawn as I skim the passage, familiar with Jesus and the flannel-graph stories. I recite the details of the shepherds and the star, the wisemen and the manger as if they were a chemist's report rather than a universe-altering miracle. I might even, in a moment of daft vulnerability, admit that I'm sometimes--dare I say it--bored with Jesus.
But don't let that statement fool you for even a moment.
This says nothing about the magnificence of the Son of God.
It says everything about the calloused nature of a heart accustomed to Bible stories and safe Christianity.
My heart that fools me into thinking everything is ok as I deck the halls and ice the gingerbread men. My heart that tricks me into believing that awe and wonder are only for children on Christmas Morning. My heart that thumps with physical life even though it's long entered spiritual hibernation.
Because awe and wonder belong only to those who notice the miracles all around them, namely, the miracle of Jesus.
And as we get together for worship on Sunday mornings and cookie exchanges for friends, we'd much rather talk about the weather than our hearts. Vulnerability is tricky business.
But here's the thing about our hearts: God wants them. He wants not just a get-out-of-hell prayer and token church attendance. He wants us. All of us. That's the whole reason Jesus came to earth.
And the great news? When we allow God free access to our hearts, He changes them from hearts of stone to hearts of flesh, hearts that beat with spiritual life, hearts that warm at the very mention of Jesus' Name, hearts that beat in sync with His.
When we allow God time with us, even in the busy season, we begin to see life with eyes wide open. We begin to notice the wonders all around us. We begin to see and savor Jesus Christ like we never did before.
And like a child with a glass prism, as we look more intently on Him, we will begin to notice even more beautiful layers to His character, more humbling displays of love, more lavishing acts of service. Our whole world will be bathed in the dancing colors of His Name. Everywhere we look we will notice Him.
And our hearts will beat anew with awe and wonder at the Name.
If your heart needs fresh life this holiday season, would you join me as we unwrap the Names of Jesus this Advent? Each day we'll look at a different facet of His character; we'll wonder anew at His beautiful person, and we'll walk away with hearts renewed by His glorious presence. Join us in an Advent study here.