I believe in the wonder

Cogitation 50, 2019 During December many families gather from near and far to celebrate the wonder.

We gather to celebrate the wonder that the holidays bring. The wonder of homes decked out in holiday splendor. The wonder of secular and sacred music. The wonder of religious services.

The wonder of opening presents. The wonder of giving. The wonder of sharing around a bountiful table. The wonder of seeing growth and the advance of years, babies to elders. The wonder of wonders that brings out good will, good cheer, gracious hope, a crushing antidote to all the “Bah humbug” of the past year.

I believe in the wonder of windows

This week we saw the windows of Macy’s Department Store on State Street, Chicago. Each year the company’s stores have a different theme for their windows and tree. This year it’s “Believe in the Wonder.”

The storyline has the astronaut Sunny the Snowpal coming to the aid of Santa whose sleigh has broken down. You have to let the feeling of wonder sink in to grasp that the gifts do get delivered to all children all over the world. Sunny and her arctic friend Fox help save Christmas.

Whee, what an adventure, magical moment, wave of wonder when all is done. Sunny gives a traditional holiday adventure a modern twist that I’m sure many youngsters, too, “relate to.”

“Together at Christmas! Every home filled with joy and kindness, too. A wonderful tradition among family and special friends, like you. Mission accomplished. Sunny and Fox prepare to head home. For the holidays, of course. And away we go!”

I knew nothing about Sunny the Snowpal, not having watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. I’d say the Swedish 16-year-old Greta Thunberg is like Sunny. She’s proposing a fix for broken down sleighs all over the world. I, for one, want to believe in the wonder of giving all humanity, and all other aspects of creation, the gift of changed attitudes and actions.

I believe in the wonder of trees

The Great Tree at Macy’s, State Street, Chicago.

The first Great Tree was erected in 1907 and for five decades it was a real tree towering 45 feet tall. It was brought into the store, then Marshall Fields, overnight. In the early 1960’s the store made the switch to an artificial tree.

It is now hung from the ceiling rather than standing on a base. It can hold nearly 15,000 lights and up to 4,000 ornaments.

Christmas tree in Millennium Park.

What’s not to wonder, be trees mouth-droppingly enormous, or humble as a Charlie Brown one?

I remember the first tree my brother Will and I cut down in the woods on our farm and dragged to the woodshed to be prepped for trimming. It was pretty scrawny, all acknowledged, but made for the wonder of Christmas. Charlie would love our current tree, a thin, yet fragrant Frazier fir. Real or artificial, Christmas tree lights light up the world.

It’s a Frazier fir.

I believe in the wonder of safe living

Glass houses, personal remembrance objects, of lives lost to gun violence. Display in the Chicago Cultural Center, corner of Randolph and Michigan.
“The Gun Violence Memorial Project, 2019: Glass house, personal remembrance objects,” commissioned by the 2019 Chicago Architectural Biennial.

I believe in the wonder of friendship

Oscar, at home in Chicago; Jan, John, Marty, at home in Indiana. Often in each other’s homes.
The Bean, in Millennium Park, a wonder-filled people place between South Michigan Ave., and Lake Michigan.

Today we had lunch catered at an Amish home with the extended family of Doris Mast, Marty’s sister. Doris’ family includes 14 great-grandchildren. I asked 8-year-old Carsyn to do a video on my phone of random responses to the question, “What do you like about family?”

Duh, I forgot to turn on the speaker. Nevertheless, judging by the smiles, family means a lot to those queried. It may be a trite phrase, but one source says F.A.M.I.L.Y stands for “Father And Mother I Love You.” I’d have said family means you’re with people you love and who love you and people with whom you sometimes have to straighten out accounts for something you did or didn’t do. Something like that. Same for friends. Real friends become family.

I believe in the wonder of books

Robert Frost: Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, illustrated by Susan Jeffers, (Dutton Children’s Books).

Peace. Joy. Wonder.


3 thoughts on “I believe in the wonder

  1. Thanks, John. Glad you made it to Chicago again to celebrate the Season with Oscar! We have been in Florida for one week now and are pretty much settled into our winter home. Ginger’s son will fly down next weekend to join us for Christmas and we will celebrate at Ginger’s daughter’s home in Tampa. Merry Christmas to you and Marty!


    My iPad says that a smile always increases your Face Value!



  2. What a heartwarming post, John! Glad to be reminded of the many wonders we enjoy and celebrate this season. Here’s wishing you and Marty a joyful Christmas and New Year!


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