After the angels announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds, the shepherds promptly left their sheep in the field unattended so that they might see the baby Jesus. When the shepherds came to Mary and Joseph they told the story of their encounter with the angels and the message about Jesus that the angels delivered.
And at the story of the shepherds Luke 2:18 says that “all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.”
Who wondered? Who is “all”?
Certainly Mary and Joseph are included in the “all” and perhaps there were a few other people around that are not mentioned in the Bible.
But why would Mary and Joseph wonder? They had both separately had an encounter with an angel as they were “briefed” on what God was doing. Though Mary and Joseph were willing participants in the Christmas story, there was still much that was mysterious and significantly outside of their previous experience with God.
This same wonder continues in us (followers of Christ) when we see Jesus “birthed into the heart of a new believer”. Though we have some understanding of what is taking place and we’ve personally experienced Jesus similarly, there is still something marvelous, stirring, and awesome that takes place every time we see new birth and new life in Jesus come forth. It causes us to “wonder”.
To wonder is to reflect on how great God is; how unique; how glorious; how gracious; how loving; how matchless.
John Jacob Niles captures this splendor in his Christmas carol, “I Wonder as I Wander”—
I wonder as I wander out under the sky,
How Jesus the Savior did come for to die.
For poor on’ry people like you and like I…
I wonder as I wander out under the sky
When Mary birthed Jesus ‘twas in a cow’s stall,
With wise men and farmers and shepherds and all.
But high from God’s heaven a star’s light did fall,
And the promise of ages it then did recall.
If Jesus had wanted for any wee thing,
A star in the sky, or a bird on the wing,
Or all of God’s angels in heav’n for to sing,
He surely could have it cause He was the King.
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