Posts Tagged ‘Surprised by Joy’

This morning was Epiphany Sunday, 2013. Epiphany celebrates the Magi who followed the star to that stable in Bethlehem where  with great joy they found baby Jesus and brought gifts to this newborn king.  I always like this light-filled  last Sunday of Christmas which is usually the beginning of the promises and hope of a new year.

This Sunday, I added a wooden manger with some straw in it with a darker-skinned “baby Jesus” laying in that former animals feeding trough. This manger was placed at the bottom of our chancel steps in front of the Communion Table.  At the opening hymn of We Three Kings, a family of three with great care and ceremony brought the treasure of the Magi down the center aisle and placed them in front of the manger, then for the last time of the season, lit all the candles of the Advent wreath.

A beloved member of my congregation whom I will call Angel, is a middle-aged Down’s Syndrome woman who seems to me to be a spiritual savant. To be her pastor for almost 10 years is an incredibly great privilege. Over the past several months, Angel has been lighting the communion table candles. She walks down the center aisle, holds onto the railing with her right hand to climb up the chancel stairs and carries the long brass lit candlelighter in her left hand. With great reverence she lights each of the two candles and then usually salutes the Communion Table before she exits down the stairs.

This morning  Angel led  in the Three Kings family,  climbed the stairs,  lit the candles, and saluted as usual. Then something so very precious happened that it is seared into my mind and soul. Angel quickly turned around to go back down the stairs and was so surprised and astonished to spy baby Jesus in the manger that her whole face lit up with utter delight…her eyes twinkled with joy, wonder, and amazement. A huge smile came across her face. She could barely take her eyes off that baby…it was as if time stood still and my soul soared watching this little glimpse of  heaven, what it must be like when we are caught by surprise at the presence of Jesus.

Oh, yes, it is those unexpected glimpses of the holy that make me realize once again how amazing and awesome it is to be a pastor. Thank you Jesus for lifting the veil of the heavenlies for a split second to let my flock and their shepherd get a peek at glory.


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