In the Mornings After…

Mary’s night had stretched long. Contractions crested and subsided with increasing regularity. Firelight flickered on rough-hewn rock walls and wooden stalls. Pain washed in waves, until wet heat whooshed from within her and the pressure lifted. A writhing baby- her baby!- reflected light against wet skin, lifted to be seen and placed gently in her arms. All else faded away as she snuggled him close, kissed his face, and stared into her engaged man’s eyes. Whimpering, her closed-eye newborn rooted hungrily for food, and then fell into happy rhythmic breathing.

A sudden commotion outside woke them. Voices, sheep bleating and a hard knock at their door erased further sleep. Cold air rushed into the cave, casting wavy shadows against the rock and inciting the animals to mew and bleat anew. Disheveled herdsmen strode into the stable, smelling of camp fires and the night. Seeing the baby’s swaddling cloths in the feed-trough sent them into hurried conversations amongst themselves. Turning to Mary and Joseph, their words tumbled and spilled. Stories of an angel, of thousands of angels, of lightning shows, and singing in multi-part harmony. News of international significance, of God coming as a baby.

In the afterglow of worship, sleep came easily. But as cold blue dawn cracked the horizon, what did partnering with God on a cosmic adventure look like in the morning light? In a dark stable, with the swollen afterbirth still laying on rusty blood-encrusted hay in the corner, partnering with God probably looked surprisingly mundane in the morning light.

What does my obedience and partnering with God look like on cold blue mornings? What does partnering with God look like once worship’s afterglow has passed?

She pulled her baby close, smiled up at her man, and felt her chest filling, surging, with heavy sustenance. Baring, opening herself, she gave, nourished, filled another. The post-labor contractions started again, smaller than yesterday, but painful enough to cause her toes to flex in purposed response.

Smiling and closing her eyes, she probably grabbed for His words, the promises her God had whispered to her in dreams and from angels. Words that spoke of who he was, and of what he was doing in the world. The great I am, God with us, Emmanuel. Humming in lilting Middle Eastern tones, she continued into quiet song. Worship can be done any time, any where.

What does partnering with God in cosmic adventures look like in the morning light? Grab his words, slide into song, and nourish the thirsty around you.

Photo credit to Charlie Dwyer. 

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  1. Wise Hearted on December 29, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Happy New Year to you and yours too. Your post was so well written, bringing to life with words some of the everyday life back then. Everything was just plain hard. Living overseas gave me a picture of that kind of hardness, women having babies without any frills, just a lot of pain but a joy afterwards if their baby lived. I use to think I would have liked to be born back in biblical or pioneer times but not anymore…women did not have a long life line, and in PNG so many babies die because lack of modern medicine. Yet this was the time God chose to bring His son into the world…again good post.

  2. Jennifer Dougan on December 29, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Hi Betty,

    Natural childbirth is a painful process, and simple conditions could add to the apprehension, I imagine.

    Nice to talk with you this sunny morning,

  3. Dontmissyoursunsetlady on December 29, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Jennifer beautifully written lots to ponder! Thanks!

  4. Jennifer Dougan on December 31, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    Nice to talk with you. Thank you, friend. Glad you were here. 🙂


  5. Mary Reed on January 1, 2013 at 12:10 am

    Jennifer, this was so beautifully written. God chose such a difficult (albeit perfect) time in history to send our Savior. Life can certainly be hard… I'm filled with relief, comfort, and joy that He is forever with us.
    Blessings to you ~ Mary

    I'm so glad you stopped by Mary @ Woman to Woman!

  6. Jayne on January 1, 2013 at 1:23 am

    Beautifully written. You add detail I had never thought of before. God's timing at bringing His Son into this world was perfect!

  7. Laurie Collett on January 1, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    This is so beautiful, Jennifer, describing this from Mary's view. No doubt she must have wondered why God did things in this way, yet her faith and obedience are a great example for us all.
    Thanks so much for your visit & comment on Saved by Grace, & Happy New Year to you!

  8. AmyAlves on January 1, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    You made the scripture very detailed and womanly…come alive in a story. Great questions! Important thoughts…what does a real relationship with God look like? Thank you sister! ~ Blessings out, Amy

  9. Leanne Mills on January 1, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    I agree with everyone above…this is beautiful! You know how to perfectly capture us with your words. Definitely a gift from God! You bless me with your writings every time I read them. Thank you!

  10. Unknown on January 2, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Beautiful! Joining with God on "cosmic adventures" is terrifying and exhilarating and passion inducing and humbling all at the same time! I love the picture of Mary breast-feeding Jesus. Great job creating images in our heads! 🙂

  11. Cheryl Barker on January 3, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    Hi Jennifer, Happy New Year to you! What a thought-provoking reflection you've shared here today. I'm so thankful that when the afterglow of worship cools, all we need to do to renew it is return to the One who is able to give fresh inspiration each day.

    Rich blessings to you in 2013, Jennifer!

  12. Jennifer Dougan on January 3, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    Hi Mary,

    Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it. Yes, the presence of Jesus brings joy!

    Thanks for stopping by.


  13. Jennifer Dougan on January 3, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    Thank you, Jayne. Picturing the details brings the history even more alive to me, and teaches me. 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by.


  14. Jennifer Dougan on January 3, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    Hi Laurie,

    It makes the history hit me in a new way to see it from a personal angle. Thanks for stopping by.

    Have a lovely week!


  15. Jennifer Dougan on January 3, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    Thanks, Amy.


  16. Jennifer Dougan on January 3, 2013 at 10:04 pm


    Thank you for your encouraging words. I am so glad you stopped by, and am glad to have you here, quietly reading anytime. Thanks.

    Did you have a nice Christmas and New years? Good times with family?


  17. Jennifer Dougan on January 3, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    Thanks, AJ. I am thankful for chances to partner with him on cosmic adventures too.


  18. Jennifer Dougan on January 3, 2013 at 10:11 pm


    Thanks for stopping by. Yes, I agree! Returning to glowing worship is as simple as facing Him again. 🙂

    Warm greetings to you,

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