In the quiet of a Nazareth night, while her family slumbered around her, Mary lay awake, pondering what the angel had told her. She turned the words over and over in her mind, in no doubt of their meaning yet filled with wonder and even fear, at what was in store for her life. The Son of the Most High. Of all the mysteries the angel portended, this was the treasure she held closest to her heart. The Messiah, her child. She hugged her knees and smiled in the dark.

She cherished the secret alone until her cousin, Elizabeth, felt her own unborn child leap in her womb at the sound of Mary’s voice. Filled with God’s Spirit, Elizabeth spoke forth the truth of the holy one to be born of the pure young woman before her. Mary’s inner meditations became a song magnifying the Mighty One who had done great things for her.

On the night she gave birth in Bethlehem, a humble band of shepherds came to the stable to see the child. Their faces shone from witnessing the glory of heaven proclaim who this child was and what he had come to do. When Mary heard their story she treasured up all that they said, holding it close within herself.

As he grew, she stored up in her heart other events in the life of her unique son, knowing intuitively there was significance in each one. She was a simple country woman, yet she had been taught about the Messiah, a savior of his people, never imagining how his coming would impact her personally. Simeon’s words the day her child was presented at the temple and given the name of Jesus, and the visit of the Magi from the east, bearing treasure for a king; no detail of these occurrences escaped her keen observation. She absorbed them into her soul where they grew more precious with each remembrance.

Every Advent season brings us an opportunity to treasure up all these things and ponder them in our heart, just as Mary did. The scriptural narration of the coming of Christ is a beautiful, mysterious story, full of details and revelations never to be fully fathomed. Each facet sheds a glorious light on the treasure at the center, Emmanuel, God with us.

At a time of year when there are numerous distractions, it can be difficult to find quiet moments for our mind and heart to dwell on the Incarnation, to soak in the wonder of mighty God becoming a mere infant, to remember the purpose which compelled Him. But it is a worthy quest to seek after the riches found in all the Christ child brought to us at His coming. Like Mary, ponder them in your heart and the treasure who is Christ will flood it with His love.

“I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ Himself. In Him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
~ Col. 2:2-3 New Living Translation ~

On the Wings of the Wind

curtains in a breezeWhen my cracked living room window was replaced last fall, I hardly expected it to impact my inner life. But it has, because now I have a window I can open to warm summer breezes, sounds of bird song and scents of freshly mowed grass and lilacs. A shy mourning dove has built a nest in a tree by the window where she sits patiently on her eggs. I slip behind the wafting curtain several times a day to check on her progress.

Through an open window life stirs, gracefully billowing sheer curtains, carrying wisps of sound and scent on warm fingers of air to freshen and revive a room long closed. My heart often feels like a room long closed, in need of the cleansing breath of the Spirit of God. A heart shut up grows stale without fresh Spirit life to rejuvenate it.

Like a dancing breeze, the Spirit makes itself known definitely but invisibly. As I see the breeze stir the gauzy drapes at my window, so I feel the Spirit of God move my heart towards Himself. I cannot predict when He will move, but I also cannot deny when He does. By a leap of my heart, a prick of tears in my eyes, a swell of joy in my soul, He reminds me there is a spiritual realm I cannot see.

When Jesus described spiritual rebirth to Nicodemus in John 3, He used the wind as an illustration. Nicodemus sought out Jesus after dark, perhaps on a night when a cooling breeze blew across the hills of Jerusalem. Although a learned Jewish leader, Nicodemus struggled to grasp the revolutionary concept of spiritual rebirth. He had the desire to learn from Jesus, but had yet to have his spiritual eyes opened.

Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.” (John 3:5-8 NLT)

When I see evidence of the wind in the billow of curtains or the sway of trees, it reminds me of how the Holy Spirit of God transcends understanding yet shows Himself in the lives of those who love Him. He blows away the desire to sin, ushering in a fresh love for the things of God. He routs out the dust of despair to replace it with the clean aroma of Christ. Sometimes in a whirlwind, sometimes in a whispering breeze, He speaks to the soul receptive to His guidance.

I want my heart to be an open window thrown wide to the wind of God’s Spirit. There may come storms or even doldrums, but because God’s Spirit is in them I can trust they will pass and I will be enriched as a result. The mourning dove sits securely on her eggs even as the wind bounces the branches where she nests. She is at peace. And so am I, resting in the knowledge that the mighty wind of the Spirit streams from the source of all love.