Tag Archives: redemption

Glittering Stars, Manger Child

This has been Christmas Eve. Where I am, it’s been frigid cold, and as I walked outside to experience the silence and stillness, multitudes of stars twinkled and sparkled in the subfreezing night air.

It took no effort to ponder that cold night so long ago… young maiden, heavy with child, charged with bearing, birthing, and nursing this unprepossessing infant… Holy God, King of Kings, Lord of Lords.

My mind cast back to the conception. The terrifying angel’s arrival. Gabriel’s assurances that all was well. His pronouncement that God intended for her to bear His Son. Her perplexed confusion as to how this could come about. My mind was transfixed by a word…


She was to be “overshadowed” by the Holy Spirit, and would conceive and bear a son, and call His name “Jesus”.

The Gospel of Luke tells us:

35 The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; for that reason also the holy Child will be called the Son of God.

Luke 1:35 New American Standard Bible

I thought of that moment. The most tender conceivable moment of both love and trust… between this simple young woman, and the Father Creator of All. She loved Him with all her heart, mind, and strength… “behold the handmaiden of the Lord”. So she chose to trust Him even at the potential loss of her life, for her untimely pregnancy could have subjected her to death by stoning.

Perhaps more amazing, Holy God trusting HER, this frail human slip of a thing… to conceive, carry, and raise this Precious Son who had left His Kingship behind Him in heaven to become the Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world. What on EARTH could that have been like?

Somehow, in the wonderment of these thoughts as I walked through the crisp night air, a wholly new idea occurred to me.

The Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary. Within her, new life sprang forth as Jesus came to live within her. Her life was forever changed through the encounter.

Wait a minute… In some weird way this question started buzzing in my brain…

Isn’t that what Salvation is?

I mean for everyone?

At some point in our lives, doesn’t the Lord come to us and ask that we receive His Holy Spirit? That Jesus enter into us, and take up His abode in our spirit forevermore? That we be affected by His residence? That we be transformed by His very presence within us? That thereafter we walk as part of “His Body”?

Mary was doubtless the first, and the most intensely such a vessel. Certainly none of us will bear a child in replication of that cold night in Bethlehem.

But I can’t release the thought that in our annual commemoration of His birth at Christmas, there’s a deep and important lesson to all of us. We all take part in Bethlehem every time we see a new believer allow him/herself to be “overshadowed” by the Holy Spirit in salvation and conversion.

Praise God for His ongoing, never ending, creation, redemption and grace!

Merry Christmas, Gentle Reader. The Greatest Gift we’ve ever received, or have yet to receive, is that brief, tender moment of a trusting “Yes” when we allow His love to overshadow our souls!

Hallelujah! Merry Christmas!

Grace to you and yours, always!


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Continuity and Conservation

earth beautiful 2In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. ..Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good. [Genesis 1:1, 6, 9-10]

God woke me at 4:00 a.m.

Nothing wrong, just a moment suspended in time.

Want to try an experiment? Go get a rock, a little rock, a small stone or large pebble and hold it gently in the palm of your hand. Let it just rest there, calmly and comfortably.

Have you ever wished that you lived in the Gospels? That you lived when Jesus walked the dusty roads of Israel, that you shared His space, breathed His air, heard His voice? Ever wished you were there then? To be one with Him that way would be quite something, no? That oneness, that sense of sharing… how close would you have needed to be to feel it?

Well, this stone in your hand… IT existed then.

I held a roundish, grayish, river stone. This stone witnessed the change of the universe, the rebirth, as Jesus laid down His life on the Cross. The stone didn’t have to “be” there, it simply had to “be”, and it was. God seemed to “replay” this little stone before me… it came from a stream, a river… it was shaped by water… ever… so… slowly. Water rubbed on it, molecule by molecule. Water tumbled it against other rocks and wore it away, molecule by molecule.

But from this, from this stone, God showed me the water… from sky, to drop, to ground, to underground, to stream, to river, to sea, to sky. Side trips through living things… plants… animals… back to earth, to underground, to streams. Over and over, molecules of water… supporting life… insulating the earth in a blanket of warmth… sanding down rocks… tumbling them… Always… always… over and over.

Everything… always… rearranging themselves over and over… but ever present, never destroyed, just rearranged. New relationships of the ever present. The water was here, too… at the Crucifixion, at the Incarnation, at the Exodus, at the Covenant of Abraham, at the Flood, at the Murder of Abel… at the Garden. (Man Science calls this “Principle of Conservation of Matter and Energy”. God just seems to call it “I AM”.)

This stone, this water drop, witnessed all of that… were ever present, in some way or another, through all of that.

Then, God showed me… “Me”. Rearranged matter, rearranged molecules, carbon, water, minerals, lipids… protons, neutrons, electrons, bits bombarded by alpha rays, beta rays, gamma rays, cosmic rays… banged into by neutrinos… yet, yet. I have been always “here”, always “present”, always in “relationship with everything else”.

Why? Because, we were all “born” at the same moment, and we all “came” from the same place. Conscious as myself yet or not? Irrelevant. I was “born”… my protons, neutrons, electrons, energy… I was “born” when God spoke forth Creation and Matter. My “body” came into being, as its substance, in the moment of Creation… with that water drop, with this pebble. With you… with you other… and with you other. With Shakespeare, with Poe, with Abraham, with Cain, with… Adam.

We all… Christian, Moslem, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, Obeah… All… are born of the same Divine Womb… born of the Word of God… uttered into Creation in the moment of His utterance.

Our “self-ness”? Our identity? Our “life as we know it”? Our consciousness is born of His consciousness. Our thoughts, our self, by and through the creative force, the praxis, the genesis, innate and inherent in HIS being, HIS assertive love pushing forth “life” and “personhood” from His Person into the Creation as our own.

We are… ALL… FROM Him as source, and “upheld by the power of His word”.

I just had the most amazing awareness of the “irrelevance of time” itself.

That you, I, everyone, rocks, trees, water, all the stars of the heavens, all the microbes of the streams… ALL are one, born of the same womb, brought into physical existence at the Utterance of His Word “in the Beginning”.

And that our AWARENESS of our being… our beingS… is equally in and from Him… source and destination… Him.

We are One. We have ever been One. We will ultimately again be One.

One tradition of worship includes the words…

“Through Him, with Him, in Him… in the unity of the Holy Spirit… One God, Forever and ever. Amen”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This morning, a bit after 4 a.m…. I saw this to be true. I’ve always “believed” by faith, that it is true. Thus, I’ve always “known” it to be true. But, this morning… looking at a small gray stone… I SAW it to be true.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Look at your pebble…

What do YOU see?


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