I resisted traveling to the Grand Canyon for many years — too predictable and touristy. Then I went and discovered an awe I’d never experienced before. The journey was difficult and distracting. The normal roads were closed. It was unseasonably cold, so I had to wear every layer of clothing from my suitcase and warming packets in my mittens. And yes, there were touristy elements—crowded parking lot, kitschy gift shop, etc.
But when I walked up to the south rim and looked over the edge, my chest expanded and I began to weep. The scale of geologic time was mind-bending. The beauty unpredictable. The colors were astounding. The space went on forever. The ravens danced in the air defying gravity. I thought everyone should be weeping!
Going to the Grand Canyon was more than worth it, as experiences of awe always are. It makes me wonder what other experiences of awe I dismiss, avoid approaching, and why I make those judgments.
The winter holidays are a time when experiences of awe come in much smaller spaces than the Grand Canyon. Spaces like witnessing a grieving church member face their first Christmas without their spouse. Spaces like the offering plates overflowing on Christmas Eve. Spaces like my neighborhood, where I pause from shoveling snow and view the night sky full of stars that don’t care what or how we celebrate, only that we are inspired.
May awe come to you this season in unexpected and predictable places and faces of those you love or want to love. And if you’re tired of it all, please join us for Blue Christmas Vespers at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, December 11, in our beautiful sanctuary.