Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Who Needs Sleep?

I used to look forward to the night. The dark. The sleep. The rest. That was before Zoe. Now we often fear the night. The restless waiting. Is she sleeping? When will she wake up? Now the dark is filled by the glow of bottle warmers and baby monitors. Now the sleep comes on her terms. Now the rest is harder to find. At midnight (or one or two or three in the morning) comes the cry. Wake awake, the baby's crying! Be prepared. Food ready. Blanket near by. Comfort, comfort, ye my child. Speak ye matter what time of the night. Parents watch and wait...wait and watch. And we wouldn't want it any other way. That is the way of love...everything revolves around the child.

Isn't that the way Advent works? I think it is. We used to love the night. The dark. The sleep. That was before new life in Christ. But we are no longer children of the night. The Light of the world has come to cast out the darkness. We are children of the day. We are restless until our rest comes in Jesus. We rejoice as Christ is overcomes the shadow of death by his own death. Awake we watch with Christ and asleep we rest in his peace. For we look forward to the dawn of the Morning Star. Wake, awake for night is flying; the watchmen on the heights are crying. Awake, Jerusalem. Arise! The Bridegroom is here. Once he came as a little child.

Pregnant women are not the only image or metaphor of Advent. - expectant joy, etc. A child is a ready reminder of our Lord's return. Everything in your life now revolves around this child. These are some of the things I think about at night. And I wonder - what did Mary ponder as she held Jesus, crying in the middle of the night? Perhaps much the same thing. Everything in her life now revolved around that holy child. Although I am sure he still cried, infant holy though he was. No doubt Simeon's words continued to keep her up at night as well:

"Behold this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword shall pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed."

The sword will come soon enough. For it is true, everything revolves around this child, the Holy One of Israel. And though he is utterly dependent on his mother, his mother and all humanity are utterly dependent upon him. It was true at his first Advent. It is true as we await his final Advent. And it is true as he continues to make his Advent among us. His food is ready. Your garment is prepared. Comfort, comfort, ye my people. O Bride of Christ, rejoice.

God dwells with us in darkness
And makes the night as day;
Yet we resist the brightness
And turn from God away.
But grace does not forsake us,
However far we run.
God claims us still as children
Through Mary's infant Son.
- LSB 337:5

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