Wonder is a movie that stays with you long after you see it. It is the story of Auggie Pullman (played by 11-year old Jacob Tremblay), a fifth grade boy who has a craniofacial difference due to having been born with Treacher Collins syndrome, a rare genetic disorder. After years of being home schooled by his mother (played by Julia Roberts), his parents make the scary yet brave decision to send Auggie to middle school. As if going to middle school isn't hard enough for anyone, Auggie and his family know that the potential for other kids to be cruel to him could be more painful than the twenty-seven plastic surgeries he has already endured. I won't share any spoilers here-well, maybe one, which just happens to be my favorite line in the movie. During a pivotal part of the movie, speaking to a student that has been suspended for bullying Auggie, the principal of his school says, "Auggie cannot change the way he looks. But maybe we can change the way we see." While seeing this movie this past week, this quote helped me to put into words something of the meaning of Christmas. The message of Christmas is that through the birth of Jesus, a radical new understanding of love was born into the messiness of our ordinary lives. And at the heart of this message of love made incarnate is an invitation to change the way we see.
You and I are also confronted with the same choice each day that the middle school classmates of Auggie Pullman had to face in the movie. We can choose to see the world and the people around us through the constricted filter of judgment and of what we think is important, or we can choose to see the world and those around us through the expansive filter of love and what God shows us is important.
"Love came down at Christmas," is a line from a familiar hymn sung this time of year. As we celebrate that Love, may we allow it to change the way we see, enhancing our capacity to see the wonder that is in each and everyone we encounter.
Going to movies is a holiday tradition for some, and so if Wonder is still showing in your community, give yourself a gift and go and see it.
Merry Christmas from all of us at Living Compass.