Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Today’s text

Luke 2:16-20

So the shepherds hurried away and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. When they saw the child they repeated what they had been told about him, and everyone who heard it was astonished at what the shepherds said to them. As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds went back glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as they had been told.


The sweetest praise and joy comes from a Source beyond and within us. It is spontaneous, a gift. It washes over and fills the heart when you are least looking for it.

Riding in the car, looking out the window, the sun illumines a field of snow. Corn stalks protrude through the gentle white blanket, shimmering silver in sunlight, reaching to a fence line a hundred acres west.

A cloudless sky, crystal blue, stretches from one horizon to the other, a dome of wintry peace over this little patch of earth.

My mind and heart rest, no thoughts great or small when unsummoned emotion rises from a place within me that I cannot touch or command, a surge of gratitude and joy for this unrepeatable moment.

Of its own accord, my mouth forms two simple words, “thank you.” The words, barely a whisper, are totally inadequate and absolutely unnecessary. They cannot speak the joy of this moment, the beauty and grace of just being alive.

But it doesn’t matter. The Heart who creates such moments from all eternity knows … . This One knows what is in my heart at this moment. Of that I am as certain as I am of my own existence.

For the heart I feel within is the Great Heart who seduces me in moments of greatest beauty and joy.

So, once more, thank you, for this life, this love, this grace.

And although they feel utterly inadequate, the words matter. I need to speak them even as I need to write them now.

We can will ourselves to praise God. We can make ourselves do it, meditating on God’s beauty and glory, grace and blessings that have come to us, and give simple thanks.

But the sweetest joy and praise is total gift. It comes when the heart is overwhelmed with beauty and grace, with love and hope.

Looking out the car window, carried on a wave of gratitude, I know how the shepherds felt as they departed the stable after seeing the infant Jesus. I know why they had to speak what was in their hearts.

They had seen and held the grace that holds us all. And when the heart is full, it must speak.

So glory to you, Holy One, and highest praise, for the favor that shines in your son’s blessed face and in every graced moment of living.

Pr. David L. Miller

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