Sunday, January 1, 2012

Starting the New Year Out Right

Photo by Marian Crawford
I must admit when I awoke before dawn this morning, New Year's Day, my thoughts were a bit on the dreary side. I was bummed by recent family problems, pressing decisions, and the sudden death of a close friend a few days before Christmas.

Yes, I know, I know - compared to many people, these barely rate a .5 on the 1-10 problem scale, but my relatively minuscule ticky-tack problems combined to cast a blue hue over the upcoming new year.

After wading through depressing headlines and unfunny comics in the Sunday paper, I dressed and headed to church all alone because Spouse was under the weather.Wouldn't you know, the day I needed company most, there wasn't any.

Or maybe there was.

Just as I pulled out of my driveway and nosed the car around the first curve, I was immersed in light. Beautiful, sparkly, utterly amazing white light from the largest array of sunbeams I've ever seen. Maybe it was a unique combination of sheen and mist, maybe the angle of the sun was different than usual, I don't know, but it was more magnificent than the most elaborate light show Disney could possibly imagine.

Now before I continue, I must mention here that I am a connoisseur of sunbeams. A self-proclaimed expert, mind you. Since I was a little girl, I've taken special joy in early morning sunbeams - those long fingers of Papa God reaching down to earth through the mist to touch His creation with the first light of a brand new day.

Such promise! Such possibilities! Anything could happen.

Many, many mornings, I've taken my prayer walks precisely at the time I know the best sunbeams will make their appearance, usually around 8:10 am. For me, it's one of those heart-bonding times I have with my heavenly father when He cuts through the fog and the mist and clutter of my day to reach right in and caress my careworn heart.

Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10, NKJ).

Knowing, simply knowing that He is large and in charge soothes my troubled spirit and brings me peace. Sometimes, I think, we just need a little reminder.  

So today, without giving my personal pick-me-uppers a single thought, suddenly, I was surrounded by these soul-stirring reminders that I am not alone. That my Papa God is right here with me. And He will be though 2012 just like He was through 2011 and the 50+ years before that.

Then just to bring the point home, I drove past a man with a black garbage bag, shuffling along with his head down through the most incredible dazzling sunbeams anyone could ask for, totally oblivious to the light show all around him. He was actually bathed in light ... translucent, iridescent, brilliant light. But he missed it.

He missed the whole thing because was looking down, collecting trash.

"Look up! Look up!" I shouted out my window. But he only glared in my direction, shook his head at the crazy lady driving by, and dropped his gaze back to the ground. He never knew what he was missing.

Like a smack in the gut, I knew I was seeing myself. Yep, it was me all right, trudging along so many days with my eyes cast downward, collecting my own brand of garbage. Feeling alone and forgotten when all I had to do was look up and see that I'm surrounded by the most amazing light: the presence of my Lord, Savior, and Companion through all of time. 

So my best New Year's gift came without a bow or a box. It came in a beam of light. And whether you see it in an incredible early-morning display of hope, or a candle in the darkness, or even during a rainstorm, I hope yours will too.

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