Wondering

Wondering

The word “wonder” has a twofold meaning…the verb wonder, as in curiosity, “I wonder what that really means” and it’s opposite, doubt, “I wonder if that marriage will last.” Secondly, the noun wonder, which is more like awe, “noticing the sunrise with the wonder or joy of a child.”

Regardless, wondering – both curiosity and awe – stand front and center in the season of Advent.

We wonder with curiosity about the first coming of Jesus. The prophecies that foretold his coming. The actual setting, the characters, time period, and chronology of events. We wonder how Mary is doing in her final days of pregnancy. We wonder about Joseph’s efforts to keep her comfortable. We wonder about the inn keeper who only had a manger available for the Christ child. We wonder at the poignancy of the entire story.

We also wonder with awe at the magnanimous and miraculous nature of the Nativity. We wonder about God’s fulfillment of his generations-long promises to send a Messiah, just as he did…by the work of the Spirit, through the Virgin Mary, in a humble manger and a simple town, quietly and graciously, surrounded by angels and shepherds on a starlit night.

We are bursting with anticipation as our own Advent wonderings are themselves pregnant with significance for our lives today. We wonder about the Incarnation. We wonder about the second coming of Christ. We wonder about his coming into our hearts and lives and penetrating the deepest recesses of our souls today.

What are you wondering about as you prepare for Christmas? What will the final days of Advent be for you and yours? Note: the 4th Sunday of Advent in 2023 is also Christmas Eve!

Perhaps like the monastic communities of old, you too may wish to wonder at the meaning of the long-awaited Messiah as prayerfully considered in the O Antiphons (Old Testament foretelling of Jesus)…found in the great Advent hymn, O Come, O Come, Immanuel. The text is provided here for your prayerful wonderment.

O come, O come, Immanuel,
And random captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Refrain:
Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel.

O come, O wisdom from on high,
Who ordered all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show
And teach is in its ways to go. Refrain

O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to your tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times did give the law
In cloud and majesty and awe. Refrain

O come, O Branch of Jesse’s stem,
Unto your own and rescue them!
From depths of hell your people save,
And give them victory o’er the grave. Refrain

O come, O Key of David, come
And open wide our heavenly home.
Make safe for us the heavenward road
And bar the way to death’s abode. Refrain

O come, O Bright and Morning Star,
And bring us comfort from afar!
Dispel the shadows of the night
And turn our darkness into light. Refrain

O come, O King of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind.
Bid all our sad divisions cease
And be yourself our King of Peace. Refrain

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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

The Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia is founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. (LTI), a ministry serving the spiritual formation, discernment, and renewal of leaders and learners since 2003. For more than 20 years he has been the Director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Doctor of Ministry Program. From 1989-2003 he was the president of Vision New England, the largest regional church renewal association in the country. Earlier in his ministry life, Steve was a member of the pastoral staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts for 11 years. He is the author or co-author of 17 books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective), and Crafting a Rule of Life, Becoming A Healthy Church (LTI), and Broken and Whole (IVP).  He and his wife Ruth live in the Boston (MA) area and are the proud parents of two married children and grandparents to three adorable grandchildren. Steve’s personal website is www.SteveMacchia.com.

My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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Mitzi Mak

Selah-West Faculty

Mitzi started her professional life as a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband Jerry then served cross-culturally for ten+ years, living abroad first in India and then Kurdistan, N. Iraq. In addition to being a Spiritual Director, she now serves as a Formation and Care pastor in her local church in Houston, TX. She has graduated from LTI’s Selah Spiritual Direction training as well as LTI’s Emmaus Formational Leadership Program.

Mitzi enjoys engaging conversation, reading fiction, doing jigsaw/crossword puzzles, ocean gazing and exploring the world with Jerry through food and travel.

God has two main callings in Mitzi’s life: to care for those who care for others and to be a guide in helping others have a healthy relationship with the Trinity – recognizing God’s loving presence and activity in their lives and how to faithfully respond.

Selah was a transformative experience for me – allowing the contemplative within to emerge and to beautifully co-exist with my extraverted personality.