on Christmas morning:
I was walking through wintery woods, crunching the snow under my feet. It was full daylight, though it was very cold. I was alone. Everything was quiet. The forest was peaceful, yet trembling. There was a sense that the world was about to change.
I came upon a perfectly-laid fire, on the ground, in the snow, in the middle of nowhere. There was still nobody around. I knew, like you know these things, that this was just waiting for someone intended to light it. I didn’t know whether it was a traveler’s fire, or whether it was specifically mine. But I knew that someone (God or human) had left this for a person to find. This was a place, safe and warm, where you could wait for the Christ-child to come.
Not the original, incarnational Jesus. I was walking in Northwest woods, nowhere near Bethlehem, in our own time. This was a place, made by somebody and left to be found, where you could wait in hope until the world changed forever.
The woods knew that was happening tonight. The animals, and the trees, were full of expectation. Then, all would be love. There would be no unsafe places.
I came upon this fire, waiting for me or someone to light it. I had all this awareness. I knew it was a place of peace—and I was full of questions. Did God lay this fire, or a human? Is it meant for someone else, or for me? Is it okay if I keep exploring; am I insulting them if I don’t stay here? Should I keep going; let it be found by someone who needs it more than I do?
Because what I really wanted to do was to keep walking, to go deeper and wilder, to seek my own safety, to build my own fire. I was caught between accepting or rejecting someone else’s hospitality (not a good idea if that someone else is God), and being where I know I’m called to be, out on the very edges, where the wind is wild and the animals wilder, where anything can happen and you don’t know what you’ll find. I knew that if I built a fire, somewhere lonelier and colder, there would be warmth and light there.
That’s the relationship I’m called to be in, with God and the world, right now. But I was still considering these questions, in my dream, when I woke up.
And right now, I really want to go walking in the woods.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
on Christmas morning: