With the passage of time, it is easy to lose our wonder in awe. Christmas morning is a great reminder of this. It produces Unexpected Moments, Unforgettable Memories.
As a child, we eagerly anticipate the arrival of Christmas morning. I distinctly remember waking up throughout the night, intensely focused on the clock. Trying to will the minutes to pass one by one. When the time came, I would rush out of the bedroom and straight to the presents. Everything had magically appeared, piled around the Christmas tree, I stood there, full of wonder in awe.
Here are two reflections I had on Christmas Day, that challenged me to continue to seek wonder in awe:
Forty-one Christmases later, the wonder in awe can easily wear off. The more you experience it, the more it can turn into a routine. It becomes something you have to do, not get to do. I tend to find my wonder in the eyes of my children. But as they get older, it can even become routine to them.
As leaders, the further we go in our careers it is easy to lose that wonder, the eager anticipation of what is to come. That feeling when you get your first job, the first promotion, the first office. Callouses form on our hearts and minds from our experiences. We allow ourselves to fall into the trap of the routine and mundane. We survive instead of eagerly anticipating.
If we were to apply the same anticipation we used to on Christmas morning to each day we walked in the office, we could be destined for greatness. If the eagerness is absent, find it in others. Just like we do through our children on Christmas day, be inspired by the wonder in awe of someone you lead. The people can be our glimmer of hope for the good.
As I ripped through the presents on Christmas morning, my wonder in awe showed up in the form of genuine joy. Not happiness, but joy. There is a significant difference between the two.
I was once told that happiness is like a thermometer and joy is like a thermostat. Think about it…a thermometer is placed outside to measure the temperature. The thermometer moves up and down with the temperature. Happiness does the same. When things are good, happiness happens. When things are not so good, happiness is absent.
Joy on the other hand operates like a thermostat. When you set the thermostat indoors at 76 degrees, it may go up to 78, or drop to 74, but it stays relatively consistent. Joy is resilient. It does not fluctuate with the volatility of happiness in our world.
In leadership, our teams expect consistency from us. Consistency comes from our joy in the workplace. Joy is produced when we are grateful for what we get to do, not what we have to do. We get to lead people, we get to solve problems, we get to lead the way. In the craziness and chaos of our worlds, it’s easy to lose our wonder in awe for what we do. Find that childlike wonder in awe through experiencing genuine joy in the workplace.
Another wonder in awe moment for me happens every Christmas Eve. My family and I get to attend our annual Christmas Eve Service at NorthStar Church. There is a moment where the lights go dark, we light candles, and everyone in the room sings Silent Night.
It’s a moment where I can glance around at my family. Into the eyes of my teenage children and still see a glimpse of that wonder in awe. The beauty that is them and my family.
Just as a Christmas Eve service can become routine for me, that moment is always a great reminder that I am fortunate to follow the greatest leader who has ever walked the face of this earth. A humble servant named Jesus. His birth is the reason for this season.
It is easy for anyone of us to feel inadequate. We regularly sit around conference tables with people who are way more qualified, way smarter, and way wiser. At times, it’s easy to ask if you are the best person for the job.
Here is good news. The most influential person to ever walk the earth, didn’t look like or act like what the world was expecting. The people of that time expected a savior that was a warrior, a king, someone of status.
He was different. As he passed through the streets of villages, people stood in wonder of awe of his presence. People had eagerly anticipated his arrival, the one who would bring genuine joy to this world. In this season, remain in glorious wonder in awe.