Be Still


Once again, I’m borrowing from Jane Kirkpatrick’s newsletter, because there’s no way to     improve on this sentiment, especially at Christmas time. Thanks, Jane,and enjoy, everyone (not that you have time to spend reading blogs right now, but maybe sometime in the next few days!)

Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I am.
Be still and know.
Be still.

Somehow this mantra of peace came into my life. I breathe the words in like a precious prayer, speaking the first sentence…and then breathing out those same words with one long breath. Then I breathe in with the second sentence… and breathe out…and begin the third. I do this until I am at the final sentence, the shortest one, the ultimate assurance given by the first: Be. This practice helps me calm the day or night, soothe the racing thoughts of uncertainty and brings me rest. I may repeat it over and over as I wake to help prepare for the day ahead or as I wait in traffic or lie beside my husband waiting for sleep.

In this Christmas season, the practice takes on new meaning for me, especially the last sentence: Be. “Be not afraid” the angels told the shepherds and I’m told that “Be not afraid” is the most repeated sentiment expressed within the Bible recognizing our human propensity to worry and to be afraid.
This season I’m exploring the Be-ness of my life. May I Be courageous as Mary was as she walked into uncertainty. Be wise and willing as Joseph was as he approached the great mystery of Jesus birth and all that was happening over which he had no control. Be kind and make room for strangers as the Inn-keeper.

May I Be as generous as a Magi and as obedient, willing to take another route home. May I Be welcoming to those fleeing the Herods of this world as Jesus himself as a child did, running like a Syrian refugee. Be a voice as in later life, the woman at the well was, who told her friends of this Jesus she had met and what he had done to bring newness to her life. Be willing to be keep Christmas in our hearts all year long.

Writer and pastor Barbara Brown Taylor notes that the concordance mentions “Behold” more times than “Believe.” I’m reminded that the angels told the shepherds right after “Be not afraid” to “Behold, I bring you tidings of great joy.” Another writer once said that what each of us as human beings need in this life is three b’s: to belong, to be competent and to be loved.

Jesus embodies each of those giving us a place to belong, assurance of our capacity to be able do the work God sets before us and to recognize that we are beloved. “You are my beloved; with you I am well pleased” God says. And the gift of Jesus is that love come alive in our hearts everyday if we will be still and know.

Let your hearts be settled this season as I wish for each of you the blessings of being. “Be still and know that I am God. Be still and know that I am. Be still and know. Be still. Be.

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