Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Today’s text

Luke 2:6-7

Now it happened that, while they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to a son, her first-born. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the living-space.


I see them there, in the back corner of the red barn. A half dozen cattle stamping their feet, impatient to be milked, their necks through the old wooden stanchions, heads reaching and pulling at the hay as they feed.

Their breath hangs in the air, warm and sweet as summer clover. They glance over their thick shoulders as we pass and prepare for the milking.

I am too young to work, so I watch my uncle in the old barn that once was ours before my father got sick and had to surrender this place.

I steal away to the back corner where bales of hay and straw are stacked like a wall and cats climb and sniff, listening for the slightest rustle signaling a mouse burrowing among the bales.

I see them there. The man and the woman, startled at my approach, thinking they were alone in this place. Their eyes wide with apprehension, wondering what has happening to them and whether I will expose their presence.

There is no need for fear, for all I want is to watch, and I am a child, so what threat can I be to their already vulnerable lives? Their eyes return to the worn wooden box where the child lies amid straw pulled from the bales.

The woman takes the child and fusses with the cloths, wrapping the child securely from the cold that filters between the cracks where the barn boards warp and cup.

She swaddles the child, covering every bit of tender flesh but his face, and it is just then that I see.

I see that the approach of God to human flesh evokes no fear or trembling. The Holy One comes, vulnerable and in need of the love only human hearts can provide.

I see the desire of God has nothing to do with parading power or making me feel small or sinful and ugly. The Holy Mystery comes to awaken the love with which we are loved by Him.

God awakens the beauty of heart and care that I may tenderly pick up the child and swaddle this life, feeling the stir of a love that is the same love which moves the Holy One to seek me through the flesh of this child.

This I see, and seeing, I know: none of us know God until we know Him as the child in the manger, seeking to be swaddled and tenderly held in our hearts.

I see this, and outside the old barn, ancient stars shine on Pea Ridge, half-a-mile across sloping, frozen fields. And the wind through the trees that stand up there sounds like singing.

Pr. David L. Miller

1 comment:

Unknown said...

David, I've followed your blog for a few years now and I never cease to marvel at how God uses you as a vessel to deliver the most appropriate, stirring, and inspiring words which point me to Him. I pray you will continue to be so-filled and that your ministry may be blessed in the coming year.


Paul :o)