This December has been one of being still for me. As much as I wanted to go to all the parties, the concerts, the light shows and all of the other celebrations of the season, it just was not meant to be. This scourge of a cold bug that my family passed back and forth, and which seems to have left half the population around here coughing, hacking and sneezing through the season, has turned into a gift. Looking back on it, I have probably observed more “Christmas” this year than other years in recent memory.
Stillness, meditation, reflectiveness – these are often touted as a cure all, a way to relieve our stress, make our bodies healthier and our mental clarity more astute. Conventional wisdom suggests that sleeping will be better, digestion will improve and a host of other supposed miraculous benefits will be reaped.
This time of stillness for me turned into a time where I had ears and did hear, and eyes that truly observed God and pondered the gift of his son. This season has been a mixture of softly playing Christmas carols wafting through our home and lights glimmering from the few decorations spread around our house that I managed to get up.
Compared to other years with baubles in every corner, this year’s decorations are meager. Yet conversations have been more than ever focused on God because of concerns about the serious illness of a close family friend and the whispers from God I have been more attuned to because I found myself still.
From the very beginning of time God has shown us that he is right beside us. From the Garden of Eden, with beauty beyond belief, to burning bushes, God has found ways to show his presence. Even whispering to us all in the oddest of places, even in stables full of muck. In these whispers, he shows us he will be and is right in the middle of wherever we find ourselves.
Look at our lives as he places the signs of him all around us if we just take the time to be still and see. How many times has he floated by us on the wings of a butterfly or in the face of an elderly nursing home resident showing delight in someone stopping to say “hello”? How many times have we watched as he led the magnificent V formation of geese honking across the sky above us and taken note? How many times has he revealed himself in the miracle of a little baby’s birth?
Maybe in this season of Christmas, and onward into the year ahead, we can set out to be more like those wise men who were looking for him. Think for a moment about the journey of the wise men. Traveling up and down the sandy hills, winds sweeping across the desert at them, whipping their robes back and forth, holding tightly on to the up and down rambling, swaying ride of their camels.
They, like us, had times of darkness and confusion as they sought to find the way. Surely, they wondered exactly what their journey was leading them to. Trudging carefully towards the place to where that splendid star blazed brightly, magnificently over the humble abode of a baby, over God.
My Christmas wish for all is that God will cradle each of us in his arms, that he will keep us focused; knowing beyond all else that if we keep our eyes on him, he will show us the way. May we remember that all we need is to just cling to that star, the light that is God with us through all the muck, sandy wild camel rides and darkness.
That star leads us to the beauty of God and an understanding in our souls given from the breath of the most Holy.