FreerangeFriday: Beginning Advent with Wonder

by Lilly Lewin

By Lilly Lewin
Traditional Advent begins this Sunday…How do we start our Advent Journey with a sense of Wonder?
What does Wonder even look like in this broken world?
What does rediscovering walking in wonder mean.?
Do I need new glasses in order to see it?
Do I need new shoes in in order to walk into WONDER?

Can I be like Mary and say YES to the gift of WONDER this ADVENT?  She said a BIG YES to Gabriel and God in

These months of pandemic have been long and frustrating, I’ve missed work, and people, and rest. I’ve lost the gift of wonder, the gift of joy and I’ve lost a lot of energy too!
Can you relate?
How do you and I need to reclaim WONDER?

I decided to actually look up the definition of the word WONDER….

It’s a word we think we know, but what does it really mean? And what are some synonyms of WONDER?

As a verb: To ponder, marvel, to be curious about something
As a noun: a feeling of surprise, mingled with admiration caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable

Words like Miracle, Awe Surprise, Fascination, Marvel, Astonishment, Amazement,

A Sense of Curiosity! I like that a lot!

What are you curious about this Advent?
What things spark that sense of wonder and make you want to go on an adventure this Advent season?

I realized I needed help! I needed to think back to other years and times when I felt the WONDER of Christmas and Advent. I realized that need to get my senses were involved! Which is so funny that this wasn’t the first thing that came to mind since I create multi-sensory spaces for a living!

Consider all the SENSES of ADVENT and CHRISTMAS…think back to Advents and Christmases from years gone by….
What are the smells that come to mind?
What are the tastes?
What are the sounds?
The sights that whisk you into the WONDER of the Season?


One of our family traditions is to put a pot of boiling water on the stove, slice up an orange, and add cinnamon and cloves and let the beautiful aroma fill the air! The kids know that the Advent season has started when they smell that scent.

We also make pumpkin bread to give away …a tradition started by my maternal grandmother many years ago.

WHAT are the SENSES of ADVENT and CHRISTMAS for you?
What are the first smells and the first tastes that come to mind?

Maybe it’s the scent of fresh pine, or evergreen.
Maybe it’s hot cocoa or hot chocolate that takes you back to the fun of the holidays.
Maybe you could find a scented candle to help awaken the wonder this year!

Take some time to WONDER about the senses of ADVENT and Christmas.
Ask Jesus to remind you and show you the things you’ve forgotten from past years.

What are some new senses you might add to your Advent that would help you recapture the WONDER this year?

There is a folk song that I grew up singing at Christmas called “I Wonder as I Wander.” It captures a bit of the wonder and awesomeness of the birth of Jesus for me. You can learn more about the history of the song here.

LISTEN to the full version and then the Audrey Assad more simplified version….What do you hear? What do you notice?

What other songs help you connect with the WONDER of the birth of Jesus and help you recapture WONDER?  You might make a new Advent/Christmas play list to help you connect with WONDER.

You also can still do our ADVENT RETREAT on your own. So many fantastic ideas of recapturing wonder are shared in the recording. There is time to journal, time to listen, and time to create a collage, an ADVENT centerpiece, and ADVENT WONDER BOX or something else that the Spirit inspires you to try.


We are using this prayer to close out our gatherings at thinplaceNASHVILLE this Advent Season.


Lord God,
Calm us as we wait for the Gift of Jesus.
Cleanse us to prepare the way for his arrival. Help us to slow down and prepare our hearts. Help us to wait and take time to be with you. Teach us to contemplate the wonder of God with us.
Teach us to know the presence of your Spirit. Teach us to bear the life of Jesus and live out his Kingdom.
Today and Always. AMEN
(adapted from Ray Simpson of Lindesfarne)



NOW AVAILABLE: Walking in Wonder Through Advent now available as an online course. This course is adapted from the live virtual retreat facilitated by Lilly Lewin and Christine Sine

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