10. At the bottom of the list, the commercially astonishing, or at least amusing. Who knows, maybe one of these will show up under your tree this year. What I want to know is---what do you say when you receive gifts like these?
The Latest Must-Have for Cozy-seekers: Sleeping Bag with Legs
Have you milk and cookies too . ..
And--the ever-popular Subway Nap Stand . ..
9. Then, there are those gifts that astonish for their price tag, ever-expanding our capacity for decadence:
The Victoria Secret Fantasy Bra series, always sprung at Christmas. This year's offering: 2 $2 million bras set in 18-karat gold and boast diamonds, rubies and various shades of blue sapphires. Yes, just what the world needs . . .
Everyone needs a good pair of sunglasses to protect their eyes. How about these from Dolce and Gabbana for the mere price of $383,000? (Solid gold frames, of course)
And, we all love our dogs, so this Christmas, why not buy a little something for your sweet pooch? Here it is: a 3.2 million dollar "masterpiece" dog collar, featuring 1600 diamonds and a 7 carat centerpiece.
8. The astonishment of Joy visiting Vanity Fair. Yes, it's a bit cliched by now, but who can resist this meme: tired, glassy-eyed shoppers in a fancy mall filling their bags with stuff they can't afford suddenly awakened by a singer, then two, then 50 all dancing and singing with real joy about the coming of a child to rescue us.
One of my favorite Christmas Flash Mobs
7. The music that astonishes. Some of my new favorites:
"I Need a Silent Night," by Amy Grant
6. The Astonishing Kindness of Strangers:
5. The astonishment that God in his infinite swirling galaxies and nebula, very God of every atom and sun and comet, dwelling in happiest of joys with his Son and the Spirit, decided to change 'hoods to come camp out with his bitty creatures, us. That God Above Us would become God-With-Us.
4. Even more, that God Above us would dress in newborn flesh to be God-with-us, Immanuel, even knowing most would reject Him.
3. That God-with-us would stay with us, despite our parade of follies, our idols, our wars, our paltry faith and our destroying self-loves and hatreds.
2. That God-with-us should come yet nearer, closer, dearer: straight into our hearts, Christ-within-us! And HOW does this happen! The wonder of all wonders,
1. The astonishment of the stable
Let the Stable Still Astonish
Let the stable still astonish:
Straw-dirt floor, dull eyes,
Dusty flanks of donkeys, oxen;
Crumbling, crooked walls;
No bed to carry that pain,
And then, the child,
Rag-wrapped, laid to cry
In a trough.
Who would have chosen this?
Who would have said: "Yes,
Let the God of all the heavens and earth
be born here, in this place." ?
Who but the same God
Who stands in the darker, fouler rooms of our hearts
and says, "Yes, let the God
of Heaven and Earth
be born here ----
in this place."
-----Leslie Leyland Fields