The Wonder of it All

Hi friends and fans,

Wow! I am probably the most negligent writer of blog posts in the literary world. I wanted to post an update of sorts.

Early in the fall, I accepted God's call to write the program for our church's annual Ladies Christmas Tea. I had originally declined the responsibility, knowing how busy my life was at the time. I said I would help with all the printed materials, in design and execution, and would handle promotion and bulletin announcements (another ministry within the church that I do weekly is the bulletin design and printing). Writing the program was another stress I didn't want to add to my life at the time, especially when dealing with a massive writer's block in the road of my third novel.

Instead, people began to bring me ideas and songs inspirations for the program. Rather than saying flat out I wouldn't write it, I began to pray and see if it was what God wanted me to do. People, that's a hard thing to do. Saying "yes" to God isn't always easy. Not simple, but always rewarding in the end.

But at the beginning? It was an all out war. The enemy instigated his assault on my confidence using his carefully selected weapon: FEAR. Fear that I wouldn't be good enough, that I wouldn't convey the message God wanted to write, fear that I was worthless and a horrible writer. Fear. The poem that follows below is not just a Christmas Tea program. I have no doubt, because of the intensity of the enemy's spiritual warfare against me, this poem was meant to reach people. I don't say this to gain any praise for myself or my writing, but to glorify my God who prevailed against intense opposition. At every stage in the writing of "The Wonder of it All" I was spiritually kicked, punched, slapped, beaten, and left a weary mess. The biggest wonder to me is that when I prayed for guidance, for God to write it for me, He did. Every time. Praise God for His goodness, because without Him, the poem would still be unwritten.

It's long, yes. But I hope you enjoy it.

Jen



The Wonder of it All
by Jennifer Osufsen

I remember Nana’s gingerbread cookies,
how the spicy scent warred with the crisp pine tree.
the anticipation before ripping paper off gifts,
of shaking and smelling and guessing what-ifs,
giddy from what it might be.

We would drive around town, admiring bright twinkling lights,
their colors illuminating the darkened sky-sea.
And occasionally we’d pass
these figures in the grass,
And I would wonder,
“What does a baby have to do with me?”

The day was more about family and gifts
than a child born to strangers long ago.
Carols with meaningless words were sung,
Shining stars on the tops of trees were hung,
But the true meaning of Christmas never showed.

Until one year, on a snowy Christmas Eve
I walked through church doors inviting me in.
Heavenly voices praised God for His Son,
and the pastor proclaimed victory begun,
And I wondered,
“Is it true? For me, a savior the Creator would send?”

I left the old country church, amazed,
confounded and convicted deep within my soul.
How guilty I was of a life covered in sin,
nothing I could do could possibly mend
the widening chasm or make me whole.

I sat on the steps of my childhood home,
closed eyes leaking tears, shamed head held low.
Dear Father, forgive me, I give it to you:
my heart, my life, all that I am, and do.
And in wonder, I cried,
“I never knew You loved me so!”

Early days of grace were sweetly spent
in the strong arms of Jesus’ love.
The wonder of the cross beckoned
my life become second
to the devotion and worship of God above.

Oh, those early times of fearless wonder,
of seeing my God at every turn, everywhere.
In newborn babies’ cries,
In immeasurable stars in the skies,
And in wonder I cried,
“There is nothing to which YOU compare!”

Days turned to years, and the years flew by.
Seasons flipped by like the pages of a book.
The wonders of my youth faded,
became commonplace, jaded.
To the face of my first Love, fewer times I looked.

Snagged in the hustle and busyness of living,
my focus centered inward, on what I could do
rather than gazing on the wonders of God,
or standing in His presence fully awed.
And I wandered,
while the space between faith and self-reliance grew.

A wanderer of the world, I sojourned in vain,
my God an afterthought along the way.
Down prideful, thorny paths I trod,
grace a ragged afterthought,
living a blurred life of dismal gray.

Until one Christmas Eve, my children near-grown,
I tarried along ice-covered roads
frantic to find the perfect gift,
one to mend gaping family rifts,
and I wondered,
“Is there anyone who can carry this heavy load?”

On a frosty park bench, I collapsed in defeat.
Shopping bags teetered, crackled to the ground.
The sun drooped low in the western sky,
hints of dim stars blinked far and wide
and Christmas lights twinkled all around.

Heartbroken, alone, I closed my eyes.
Tears trickled, froze along my reddened face.
Where was the joy I once possessed?
Why was my life full of distress?
So I shook my fist at God and demanded,
“Why have you left me in this miserable place?”


Then a voice whispered, sweet and clear,
“My child, you wandered, but I am still here.
My wonders surround you,
from far galaxies to oceans blue.
I never wavered, and yet you fear.

Think on the star that heralded the birth
that would save the world from its sin.
Ponder my Son born of a maiden,
and her obedient heart, heavy-laden,
And wonder in amazement
at how much I love my creation.”

“At Christmastime you seek earthly treasures
to bestow upon family and friends.
But the greatest gift ever given
was a babe wrapped in linen –
my Son born to die and rise again.

Lights adorn houses, brighten wintry trees,
yet you forget the brightest Light ever known.
Go home to your family, My child.
Tell them of Jesus, and smile.
Marvel at the wonder
of Christ, and the love for you He has shown.”

On that night, forty years ago,
my eyes were opened to the reality of love.
I now look at life
through God-filtered eyes,
and see wonders trickle from Heaven above.

The Bethlehem star proclaimed Jesus birth,
bringing wise men from afar.
Now we are the lights
who shine day and night.
See the wonders
of this life illuminated beneath the Christmas star.

A babe born to earth,
the virgin birth,
miraculous and full of wonder!

The Child grew to be
the sacrifice for you and me,
the veil between us and God ripped asunder!

How miraculous is this life
filled with such strife,
yet a stepping stone to life evermore.

Wonder not at the woes,
do not fixate on those,
marvel at eternal life on the far shore.

View all of creation
as God’s invitation
to witness His power and strength.

From the brightest star in space,
to atoms in the unseen place,
God’s love knows no boundary or length.

Yet it all began
with the birth of The Man,
in a simple stable long ago.

The Wonder of Christmas
lies not in wishes,
but in The Gift given to you and me.

Through God-filtered eyes,
I am constantly surprised
at His love since I answered His call.

That, my dear friends,
is the beginning, not the end.
His Love is the Wonder of it all.

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