Did Baby Jesus Dream?

Adele Enerson

We continue in the midst of the season of Christmas, which actually begins with Christmas Day and ends on Epiphany (January 6).

So what kinds of dreams do you think the infant Jesus had?

This photo and illustration by Adele Enerson shows her imagining what her sleeping child might be dreaming about. I like this version: it holds so much hope.

Do we still have the innocent hope of a child?

For more photos you can check out:

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Following the Magi: Home Another Way

So, we’ve gathered at the manger. We have left our gifts. We have seen what the angels sang about. It is time to return to the sheep. I hope they are okay. It is time to find our way home.

Should we go and tell King Herod what we found? He said he wanted to honor the child, but I’m not sure. Did he seem a bit creepy to you? He did to me.

What do we do now?

We can share some of the wonderings of the shepherds and the Magi after they found the child they searched for. We have spent days, weeks, even months preparing for the Christmas celebration. And a couple days after, we are left feeling somewhat empty.

We have to clean up the house and put away all the decorations. If we visited in another place we have to pack up and go home.

It is time to get back to normal life, right?

If that is all we seek, our old normal life, then we have missed the point of the journey and the visit.

If Christmas means anything, it means we are to be transformed.

In Luke 2:20, the shepherds went away rejoicing. In Matthew 2:10, the Magi rejoiced when they found the child under the star. They were so affected by their visit that they defied the King and found another way home.

So how are we to be transformed by our honoring the birth of Christ?

We need to first of all share in the joy of those first visitors.

Sadly, one of the perceptions we have about our normal lives is that they are humdrum and without a whole lot of interest and excitement. That is why we put so much energy into these festivals: life is boring and we crave excitement, so let’s find a reason to party. Then we can forget how drab our existence is.

The coming of Light in the manger is to show us that the normal life God intends for us is full of joy and celebration.

Our normal life needs to filled with the fullness and depth of joy that comes from experiencing the living presence of the light of the universe.

Another lesson from our visit to the manger scene is shown by Mary. Throughout the various Nativity stories, Mary is said to contemplate in her heart the events and words of others. She remembered. She kept remembering and in that memory lies her new life.

We need to be people who remember the wisdom of events and caring people in our lives. It is easy for me to forget what happened yesterday. Yet, the life that comes to my from the source of history provides me reason to try to remember and when I remember I find myself changed by the events of not only the past but the present.

As we nurture a remembering life, we look to each present moment as a wonderful opportunity to experience the living presence of hope.

The third lesson from the child in the manger is the centrality of embodying our life.

It is easy for us to want to split ourselves into pieces and compartments. We think it is easier to control and manage. And it is, up to a point.

Yet, as we continue to divide and conquer our lives we fracture and fragment. We become less and less the whole people that God creates us to be. We split body from spirit. We divorce head and heart. We separate work and faith.

That is not living in light of the Incarnation.

At Christmas, God chose to integrate all the pieces that we try to scatter in our lives. Divinity unites with flesh and heaven and earth are brought together in that cave.

As we come to and leave the presence of the child we are to be reunited with our selves. We are meant to embody and integrate all that God has given us.

This body is no longer the enemy, it again the gift of the creator. It is the image of God that is now transformed by the promise of resurrection.

In leaving the manger we complete the circle. The Magi looked up and found a star to follow, they looked inside to find a heart of great meaning, and as they leave they stand on the solid ground of earth and again look to heaven with new hope and great joy.

Complete the circle.

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Christmas Eve Lights

Christmas Eve. I gathered with my community of faith with candle light in a dimly lit worship space. I read these words:

“The light was in the world, and the world came into being through the light, but the world didn’t recognize the light.” (John 1:10 CEB)

I feel the bite of those words. I am part of that darkness that is so involved with so many other things that I miss the light of life. There is so much flash and noise in my life I can’t see the one part of my life that is truly alive: the presence of mercy and love.

I like the old answers to dusty questions, so I shut my eyes to fresh truth. I am the one doing the talking, after all, I am the preacher. I’m supposed to keep getting the word out.

But do I listen?

Can I hear the word that comes to me first?

I’m too enamored by my own familiar thoughts that there is no space for the Word of life to sneak in, until I stop and face my emptiness in the quiet. There a whisper tugs at my heart. An ancient yet newly born word triggers a deep desire.

Where did that small and full light come from?

The Word continues on that dark night in worship:

The Word became flesh and made his home among us. We have seen his glory, glory like that of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” — John 1:10,14 CEB

That’s what thrills my soul: someone real. Someone who is fully alive whose simple presence pulls me toward the light.

I thought I needed ideas to be alive. I thought I could be satisfied with mere words and thoughts and understanding. But I was wrong.

I need Life embodied. I need truth that walks and cries and laughs. I need light that is touchable.

The candle wax drips on my fingers as we pass the flame from candle to candle and sing a simple song to the beloved Presence of life that now shares a body like ours.

Just like ours!

But don’t we want to get rid of these fragile bodies? After all, aren’t they the source of our pain, sorrow, and anxiety?

But that doesn’t fit with the truth of the Incarnation of Christ. That doesn’t fit with Christmas.

God chose to create us with these bodies, made in the very image of our God. Even after we get lost and reject the light, it isn’t as partial beings that salvation is brought to us. Our healing is within these fragile bodies, these breakable hearts, and these wayward minds.

Word became flesh and love reconciles us.

And in the silence and the powerful light of simple candles that we know.

Light comes. Life is here. Do I see it? Where do I know it?

We have nowhere else to go. The gift is holding us.

Hallelujah. Emmanuel.

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A Trio of Christmas Videos

Merry Christmas! I want to share with you my three favorite Christmas videos. They all come from one of my Christmas traditions: watching the Claymation Christmas Special. I keep a VCR hooked up to my television primarily for this video every year.

These are my top three videos.

Video #3: We Three Kings

This is especially appropriate because It fits the theme of my posts this week.

I love the contrast of musical styles, but especially the jazzy part of it.

Video #2: The Carol of the Bells

I posted Pentatonx’s version of the Carol of the Bells last week and I enjoy that one a lot. This one is just plain goofy and makes me laugh each time I watch it.

Video #1: Joy to the World

The musical arrangement is pure joy. The visuals formed by the clay are stunning and provocative. It always brings tears of joy to my eyes. This is my hands down favorite.

Enjoy!
David

NOTE: Sorry you can’t watch it embedded. But follow the link to youtube and turn on High Def. It is worth it.

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