Merry Christmas Wonder to All and to All a Great Year!

Christmas is a time when I’m at my most nostalgic, having grown up in Norman Rockwellian Americana. I can remember the littlest things from 50 years ago like they happened yesterday, but somehow forget why I just went downstairs into the den. Christmas had such a wonderful intensity back then and that included baking everything from scratch as a family to shopping in the falling snow in downtown Appleton to meeting my brother Rick at the train depot when he was on leave from the Navy. One year, the night before he would return to base, I even asked him if he was God. Now, that’s what I call intense wonder!
 
Everything seemed so filled with wonder back then through the lens of a child. Some of it was because I was younger and firmly believed in everything (you should have witnessed my “debate” with mom involving the existence of Santa!). Some of it was that the decorations and festivities didn’t start until after Thanksgiving so the excitement was much more concentrated in time. All that said, we were never hurried, even though it seemed we were baking or decorating or playing in the snow 24-7. I think it was because most of it was spent together as a family around the house rather than on the plethora of errands and shopping stints that are more prevalent today. Perhaps writing this will prove as motivation to simplify next year!
 
I love the word “wonder.” When we’re young, we experience it a lot because there are so many “firsts.” Then, as we age and grow busier, we sometimes miss the wonder that’s right beneath our nose. It can also happen when we let cynicism distort our perspective. I think this is why one of my favorite quotes in my book is “Some things need to be believed to be seen” by Ralph Hodgson. It is SO true.
 
So, how is it that, at the ripe old age of 57, I just experienced one of my favorite years of my lifetime? I think it’s because I experienced “wonder” on almost a daily basis, capturing that same, intense feeling of awe as I did as a kid. Only this time, it’s in an entirely different context than a visit from Santa. Rather, it’s a sense of wonder about how my life experiences, passions, and relationships were, in retrospect, a preparation for this new life mission and purpose. A wonder of how in this entirely new context, I’ve been blessed to meet such incredible people who would serve on my team or become ambassadors for our mission of offering honorable life wisdom to young people. A wonder of how so many introductions to amazing people could not be happening by “chance.” Or, the wonder of how God would answer my prayer of some eight years ago that my life could become more centered on kids and relationships. Unreal.
 
Honestly, I think I experienced “wonder” more than ever this year. On the other hand, I also know that I was more intentional in looking for it. Maybe that’s my “lesson learned” for 2011…a renewed commitment to see wonder and blessings in everything I do.
 
So, as I look ahead to 2012, I do so with an expectation that I will again be filled with wonder about all that is good and amazing about life. And, about the opportunities that God has given me to make a difference in the lives of others, just as He did in mine.
 
May you experience untold joy and fulfillment and wonder in the year ahead.
 
Merry Christmas with Love and Anticipation,
Den
 
 
 
 
 
 

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