In her eulogy for him, Steve’s sister wrote about his last hours, and how her brother’s sense of wonder never really died. She wrote:
But with [Steve’s] will, that work ethic, that strength, there was also sweet Steve’s capacity for wonderment, the artist’s belief in the ideal, the still more beautiful later.
Steve’s final words, hours earlier, were monosyllables, repeated three times.
Before embarking, he’d looked at his sister Patty, then for a long time at his children, then at his life’s partner, Laurene, and then over their shoulders past them.
Steve’s final words were: OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW.
This is what we are celebrating today – not Steve Jobs, but that sense of wonder and how God uses it. Today, on the Epiphany, we celebrate that moment in time when God-made-man, Jesus, is revealed to the world.
The wise men, we are told, consulted their charts, watched the sky, and wondered at the new star that they saw – the star that rose with the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. Seeing this, they set out in search of its meaning, confident that they were being led by some transcendent light. They probably knew nothing of Israel’s history, the prophets and the promises of God. They did not realize that a people in the west longed for a Savior. But they knew that something special was now happening.
So, they followed.
It’s wonder that brings us here. It’s wonder that keeps us coming. It’s wonder that will send us forth to be signs to others and bring them to Christ as well.
How is God at work here – in our lives? With what gifts has He blessed us? It often takes wonder to see it, and this is why God gifts us with that blessing through the Holy Spirit. Wonder allows us to be blown away. It brings us to a level so far beyond ourselves, and yet so near, that we almost can’t believe what we find.
This is what a vocation is, too. We often want to believe that we have everything figured out – that we know exactly what’s happening and what’s happening next. We’ve got “the plan,” and we like it that way – until that plan is upset, and we are thrown into confusion, maybe a little despair, and then the realization that we were never really in control anyway. God has the plan, and when we allow ourselves to be abandoned to that, we realize the great things He is working out through us.
The wise men came from afar, with grand ideas and fancy gifts, camels, entourages and tents. However, what they found was nothing like they expected: a stable, a baby and His poor parents in a tiny hamlet in Palestine. The newborn King of the Jews.
Their journey started with wonder at what that star might have meant – their first “oh-wow” moment. Following that wonder, their journey ended in wonder at discovering the Messiah.
When we consider what God has called us to be – ordained minister, consecrated religious, married or committed single life – we can sometimes think that we’ve got that figured out. However, if this is not part of our prayer – part of our open conversation with God about what He wants – then that journey will not end in our complete happiness. We might feel good about it, but that will be it. However, when we stop and think about the adventure of faith that we are on – that journey of wonder and awe that recognizes that God has made us to be someone special and knows exactly who that is at the moment of our creation – when we discover that call in our lives through honest prayer and giving ourselves over to God’s will – the result is spectacular. Words fail us at that point. We can only look on in awe.
... and say, "Oh wow!"