The other night I woke up at 4:12am. Yeah, I know, strange time to wake up...especially for this loghead. I started thinking about all the things left on my list to do: 12 more presents to wrap, a few more gifts to buy, Christmas Eve breakfast and Christmas Day dinner to plan, shop for and prepare. In the middle of these thoughts, the verse "Be still and know that I am God." came to mind, along with a vibrant dream that took my breath away:
Stillness filled the air. Rich, warm light flooded the open space. Stars broke through the darkness to shine like brilliant diamonds that had been strewn across a black velvet canopy. Bearded men, who smelled of pungent earth, wore long robes and held staffs in rough, grungy hands. Surprisingly, they were on their knees. Yet it was their eyes that caused me to gasp. They were huge--wide open and filled with unspeakable awe, humility and amazement...all at the same time. Tears slowly rolled down their beaming faces. I followed their gaze to see what had captivated them so.
It was Him..it was Jesus! I had always thought the first time I would ever see Him, He would be an adult with a welcoming lap for me to crawl up on. This was a baby. Not just any baby. This was the Savior of the World...Jesus. Helpless to the passing glance. Arms flinging. Legs kicking at white linen strips of cloth that served as a makeshift blanket.
I was there. There...in the manger...with Baby Jesus. As I drew nearer, I knew He was anything but helpless. My heart raced. I couldn't breathe and my mind was swimming, shaken with jumbled thoughts and emotions. My soul fell before Him, but my body was motionless. I could not move. Magnificent rays of light streamed upward from the manger. Light, Love Eternal...revealed in this sweet, holy baby.
I could hear the words again: Be Still and Know that I am God.
The Story I had heard more than a hundred times hit me like the north wind and awakened in me a fresh sense of reality at the miracle and magnitude of that one holy night. I had seen God incarnate...Immanuel. God with us. Come to save the world. To save me. To save you. My heart will never be the same.
Christmas has passed once again. Each time I go back to that moment, my heart stops and my soul is filled with an indescribable reverance and awe. A new year is right around the corner and I pray that it is not just another blur for you or me...filled with a billion things to do and places to go.
WILL WE FIND TIME TO BE STILL AND KNOW HIM?
O Holy and Ancient One, I confess that sometimes the nativity story seems to fade in between the busyness, tasks and demands of everyday life. Yet You are the One I want to know more. Help me to be still and know You are God...You are that sweet Baby Jesus lying in the manger...God incarnate, Immanuel. God with us...with me. May my life reflect your beautiful Light into your world. In Jesus' name and for His sake, Amen.