Psalm 131:2; Matthew 7:11
After a semester of getting up at 5:15 am every day of the week you would think that during the break I would be able to sleep far past that time. Internal time clocks are very hard to reset.
I woke this morning and my mind was already at half throttle before my eyes even opened. I fumbled for my phone and the bright screen showed me that it was 5:41 am. I pushed down into the covers and against the warm wall of my sleeping husband and was determined to go back to sleep. The gears, however, were already in motion.
Here I am in the kitchen. Mechanically the house is not quiet. The washer is spinning, the dryer is whirring and the bread machine is rotating. My mind is acclimating quite well to the rhythm.
Last night I went to bed and realized I had gone almost the whole day and failed to have any kind of conversation with my Father. Interestingly I didn’t feel condemned. I felt deprived. My whirlwind actions and schedule of the day had taken their toll. My lists, my schedule, my worries, my agenda and my plans had occupied my mind the entire day. Much was left undone and untouched even with my preoccupation.
Stillness is a hard place for me to reach. Often I can get my body still even planted in one place for longer than ten minutes. My mind will slow, but rarely will it shut off. It is triggered by even the most random pieces of information—flitting from subject to task at a dizzying speed.
This morning when the numbers on my phone said 6:00 am the Spirit said to me, “Get up.”
Get up? I have a long (but fun) day ahead of me. Shouldn’t I sleep a little longer? Shouldn’t I attempt to rest for a couple more hours? Shouldn’t I try to relax?
Get up, Tamera.
See, it’s Christmas. And I have been very busy trying to get everyone’s gifts and packages ready. I have been preoccupied with Wow gifts for others. Isn’t that what we are supposed to do?
This morning my Father had a gift for me to open.
I am like an adult child. I have had too much sugar, too much caffeine and too much stimulation. I am overloaded.
He wanted to still me. To settle me. To calm me.
He didn’t throw a wrench in my turning gears. He was not interested in giving me whiplash. He didn’t throw cold water in my face. He didn’t scold or yell at me. He didn’t threaten to return my gifts and he didn’t make me feel guilty.
Gently he woke me. Shaking my shoulder ever so slightly and speaking my name.
Get up, my child. I have something for you. Get up so I can give it to you this morning.
Here I sit in the quiet. The bread machine, washer and dryer have stopped. The house is very still. I am sitting at my kitchen table and then I hear it.
The rain against the window pane. Pattering against the glass. I wouldn’t have heard it upstairs. I wouldn’t have heard it in my bed; the sound would have been too muted. I don’t like rain in the winter, but this morning there is something so soothing about the sound. The rain is tapping down the dust that has been stirred up in the past couple of days of my fevered activity.
And I am still.
The rush of my thoughts has slowed. The thread of panic is dissipating.
With the psalmist of 131 the Father has stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.
How many times have I held my precious daughters close to me—caught them up in my lap and held them close in the circle of my arms in an attempt to still them? How I savored the feeling of their coiled, energetic little bodies settling, going limp and their weight draping in my arms.
And if I, though I am evil, know how to give good gifts to my children, how much more will my Father in heaven give good gifts to me when I ask?
This morning my Father woke me (there are times that it is good to wake a sleeping child) so that I could climb up in his lap and sink into him. This morning he has wrapped his arms around me—it’s the first chance I have given him to do so all week.
I wonder if in the early hours of the morning Jesus stirred in the manger. Did the Spirit whisper to her, “Get up, Mary.”
Did Mary wake from her slumber and pick Jesus up and pull him close to her? In the stillness and quiet did she recognize who she held? Did she swaddle his little limbs close and tight so he wouldn’t flail and startle? Did she tuck him tight to her breast and soothe him with whispered words? Did she rock and sway him in the dim light of the animal stall?
This Christmas our Father wants to hold us. In this season when our arms flail, our limbs startle and our minds jerk he wants to give us peace. He wants to soothe our agitated hearts. He wants to calm our irritated spirits.
His gift to me this morning was his presence.
He wants to give the same gift to you.