While I'd like to claim that "paying attention," the theme of yesterday's sermon and blog, is quite possible at night--perhaps even that night is the superior time for soaking up truth, there is a continual Biblical theme that puts morning as the time to greet the day and God. I'd rather night because I'm more naturally a night person--I can easily stretch one hour into two into three with a good book or a movie we've been desperate to watch. Just as easily, I slap the snooze button a half dozen times each morning. On many a day we are chastising our kids for not moving more quickly toward the door for school, but we are equally to blame. We just do not want to get up in time to move through the morning with ease.
I remember a time when I woke early on a regular basis. It was pre-children, I was frustrated with my work situation, and I needed a space to set my soul to a new dimension each day. I would rise in the darkness of the morning, put on the tea kettle, grab my journal and a devotional book, and sometimes even squeeze in a run before all this began. (Yes, running is also something long since fallen off the "to do" list--I could blame the kids, but the choices made are mine!) Though it was a stressful time in my life, a time filled with questions of whether or not I had a purpose, whether I would find contentment in work, whether I was bound to a life of perpetual restlessness and dissatisfaction, my primary memories are of the mornings--the stillness, the peace, the quiet. This Advent, I'm going to find my way back to mornings and see if once again I can experience some of the peace of that time.
I set the alarm for 6am--just enough time to get in a short reading and prayer--enough to claim that I was UP! See me, I'm UP! But God had other ideas. Lucas cried out at 5am, unable to get himself fully nestled back into his cocoon of covers. I went back to bed, grateful for one more hour of sleep, but I could not settle. Finally, after 20 minutes, I got up. I'm not one to rush into prayer, you'll see. I went to the basement, emptied the ashes from the woodstove, folded a load of laundry, hopped on the Cardioglide for a few minutes, and only then did I come upstairs for my cup of tea. I opened a copy of Max Lucado's "God Came Near"--I have wonderful memories of sitting with my suitemates in my first year of college, surrounding a contraband candle as we read aloud from this book about the miraculous arrival of Jesus. Given that I've been in a mind (rather than heart and soul)-driven place of questions about the audacity of believing in such a person....such a story....such a possibility, this book seems right.
And indeed it is. Hear the words of yesterday's blog, and then hear the message waiting for me this morning. "Off to one side sit a group of shepherds. They sit silently on the floor, perhaps perplexed, perhaps in awe, no doubt in amazement. Their night watch had been interrupted by an explosion of light from heaven and a symphony of angels. God goes to those who have time to hear him. . . Those who missed His Majesty's arrival that night missed it not because of evil acts or malice; no, they missed it because they simply weren't looking." (God Came Near, Max Lucado)
This Advent, I'm going to make time....I'm going to try to make time to hear God's arrival.....to see God's arrival. I'm already feeling rewarded.