Courage falls flat some nights, and I pray hard, reading and re-reading every word typed or scrawled, weighing the terms, the message, the need, and hoping it shows my heart and nothing else.
In a blinking online text box, I hesitate and then respond, choosing each word carefully, prayerfully deleting and re-typing until it feels right. Is it? I can only speak to what I've seen, learned, experienced. I type tremulously, confessing my own brokenness, gushing wild about God's pursuing patient love, his tender transformations in my heart and life, and then hang quiet in the wonder of him. After anguished reading and re-reading it, I click "Enter."
|Photo credit: Anders Klint|
Courage fell flat some nights for them too, I imagine. Wrapped up for a chilly overnight, the men guarding the sheep that night in biblical Bethlehem probably started their night like any other night. After a terrifying encounter with angel army choirs, though, everything changed. They changed.
Nobody else in the Christmas story sees angels or miracles that night. Mary and Joesph had angel conversations in the past, but that was eight or nine months ago. In the quiet sleeping town of Bethlehem tonight, only the shepherds see angels.
Everyone else... they don't hear angel choruses, they don't cower from bright lights bouncing off Middle Eastern hills; they don't see miracles that night. Everyone else just gets to hear the shepherds talk, see the shepherds' responses.
Imagine the courage it took those sheep-wrangling men to wake up people at the inn, to peek in on sleeping guests, and then to spill the story to their hometown family and friends.
"You'll never believe what we saw and heard tonight..."
It took courage to speak of wild otherworldly encounters; to share how they saw the Creator at work; and to risk ridicule, rejection, and rumors.
"And all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them."
I have a brand new gift Bible that I have been writing in and working on since October to give to a dear one. I'm not sure how he'll respond, but I am convinced I need to do this. And yet, friends, I confess, my courage falls flat some days. But this? This is life! And so, with tremulous hope and praying, I'm going to write a note, and send it off.
Speaking only to what I've seen, learned, and experienced about God, I will share my brokenness, cry out joyfully about God's pursuing, patient love, and his tender transformations still at work. Hanging quiet in the wonder of him, I'll click "Print."
Join me this Christmas? Race away from the crackling fire and heated home, and bravely tell someone what you have seen and heard from the Creator of the world. Humbly, respectfully, tell your story.
(Photo Credit: Anders Klint)