Rss feed

Subscribe to our Signposts-only RSS feed.


As a small non-profit with a big mission, we rely on the generous gifts of supporters like you to help our ministry prosper and grow.

Donate to


Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Susan Hanson

Thursday, December 9

When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.
—Luke 2:17-18

When people speak of the “wonder of Christmas,” what they usually have in mind are all the trappings we’ve come to expect—the decorations, the gifts, the songs. The light show at Sak’s Fifth Avenue, the tree at Rockefeller Center. The old films, such as It's A Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street. The faces of children—yes, always the children.

While we may take great pleasure in these things, they have little to do with “wonder” in the spiritual sense of the word. In his best-known work, The Idea of the Holy, philosopher of religion Rudolf Otto declared that wonder is the inescapable response to the numinous, to that which is Wholly Other. This “ineffable something that holds the mind,” as he put it, is the presence of God himself.

Like those whom the shepherds told of Jesus’ birth, we accept the news with amazement. How can it be that the Holy One has entered our time and space? How can it be that he has become so vulnerable, so open yet so constrained? As near as our breath, God longs for us in a way that can only leave us in awe. 

Subtle but strong, this gift of the Wholly Other is too large, too compelling, too intimate to be contained by the human heart. But our hearts, if they are broken or pliable enough, are where this God wants to be. Struck with wonder, we can do no more than give thanks.

O God, help me to remember that I live in you and you in me, and grant to us all the sense of wonder that comes from knowing that you are nearby.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2004.