From Joyce Smith, another photo tweet.
My friend Joyce’s latest photo Tweet takes, as its theme, the soaring flight over the earth which symbolizes the coming of the Christ-Child in the birth of Jesus to Mary and Joseph.
Joyce chooses the caption which takes up this theme ; –
This Holy Night heaven reached down to earth.
The stooping down of God to embrace earth and all creation with His saving Love has an echo in those moments in a faith journey where we encounter heaven opening and sense God’s presence so keenly that it takes our breath away and for a time we feel drawn into God’s embrace. These are our thin moments when the membrane that separates earth from heaven is so thin that we could be in either place.
As indeed we are, and far more than we realize. God is very near but unless we are still, it is easy to miss Him. A bit like the Whisky Priest in Graham Greene’s novel, The Power and the Glory who “missed happiness by seconds at the appointed place.”
All but a few shepherds and animals missed God’s coming at the appointed place of Bethlehem in the stillness of the Night.. As the writer of the Book of Wisdom in the Old Testament put it in the beautiful words in Chapter 18:
When all things were in quiet silence
and the night was in the midst of her swift course,
Down from the heavens, from your Royal throne,
leapt your all-powerful Word.
Being attentive to God’s coming to us in our lives means watching and hoping with real expectancy that He will indeed Come.
And whilst we might not always meet Him at the appointed place, that is not the final moment or place. God is always waiting and creating new thin places of meeting, each Christmas being an absolute certainty of that truth.
For reasons we hardly can fathom, He has this ‘thing’ about touching us with the love and joy pouring constantly from His heart. In Jesus He shows us just what that means.
So with the 17th century Poet, Richard Crawshaw in his poem, In the Holy Nativity of God, let us gratefully say :
Welcome, all wonders in one sight!
Eternity shut in a span;
Summer in winter, day in night’
Heaven in earth and God in man.
Great little one, whose all-embracing birth
Lifts earth to heaven
Stoops heaven to earth.