Advent Devotional Dec 18: Breath of Heaven

Breath of Heaven

I have traveled many moonless nights

Cold and weary with a babe inside

And I wonder what I’ve done

Holy Father, You have come

And chosen me now to carry Your Son

 

I am waiting in a silent prayer

I am frightened by the load I bear

In a world as cold as stone

Must I walk this path alone?

Be with me now, be with me now

 

Breath of Heaven, hold me together

Be forever near me, breath of Heaven

Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness

Pour over me Your holiness for You are holy

Breath of Heaven

 

Do you wonder as you watch my face

If a wiser one should have had my place?

But I offer all I am

For the mercy of Your plan

Help me be strong, help me be, help me

 

Breath of Heaven, hold me together

Be forever near me, breath of Heaven

Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness

Pour over me Your holiness for You are holy

 

Breath of Heaven, hold me together

Be forever near me, breath of Heaven

Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness

Pour over me Your holiness for You are holy

Breath of Heaven, breath of Heaven

Breath of Heaven

 

This song gets us into the story of Mary.  Mary who received a visit from the angel Gabriel saying that she would conceive a child and give birth to a child who would be holy and be named the Son of God.  Mary who had to figure out how to stay in relationship to a husband who was not father of her child, and who had to journey to Bethlehem while pregnant and give birth in the most grueling of circumstances.  Mary who questions how she could do it, but also was humbly willing to serve – who responded to an unexpected calling with the simple but profound response “Let it be with me according to your will.”

 

The words of our song give voice to Mary’s story.  It is a strange thing about Mary in the protestant tradition that we tend to almost ignore her.  It is as if in reaction to Catholic emphasis on Mary’s role in the life of Jesus we swing as far as we can away from such practice and in the process miss her pivotal place in our scripture and story.

 

I have traveled many moonless nights

Cold and weary with a babe inside

And I wonder what I’ve done

Holy Father, You have come

And chosen me now to carry Your Son

 

I am waiting in a silent prayer

I am frightened by the load I bear

In a world as cold as stone

Must I walk this path alone?

Be with me now, be with me now

When I hear these verses it really puts me in an understanding of the challenging of sacrifice Mary went through – and not because she signed up for it.  It is popular today to talk about serving in ways that you are gifted, that bring you pleasure, and that line up nicely with your gifts and talents.  And yet, this is hard to find in the biblical stories.  Mary didn’t sign up.  Mary didn’t feel gifted, and Mary only found the pleasure later… after the sacrifices.  Where would we be if those who came before only served communities in the ways they wanted to serve?  We would have no Abraham or Moses… no Noah or Elijah.  There would not be a Mary or a Paul… so many of our stories of faith are about unexpected people being called to serve in uncomfortable ways that end up fulfilling them.

Fulfilled by their calling – but it didn’t start that way, “And I wonder what I’ve done.”  Granted this isn’t what scripture says but I feel the rightness of these words.  What have I done to deserve this??? And yet in a not too far off moment Mary will sing of how great it is to bear this child. And will rejoice at the way God has looked upon her with favor.  This thing she was frightened of, could not imagine, and felt a burden became life transforming, enriching, a blessing not simply to her but all who encountered her and her story.

Must I walk this path alone?

And part of the why of that turnaround is that she didn’t walk the path alone.  Her initial reactions are changed when Elizabeth rejoices at Mary’s pregnancy.  The community makes her see it all from a different perspective.  And the shepherds will give her more news that she will ponder and treasure.  Many people will encounter her and her story and when she sees the profound impact her life will have on them that which was a burden she could not imagine carrying became her greatest blessing.

What burden are you carrying for the sake of others?  What burdens are we avoiding because we lack the imagination to believe we are the right person for the job?  How might God be calling us to just this kind of “sacrifice” which is actually great good news to all people… and blessings to our lives that we didn’t know we needed?

Advent waiting and preparation – incarnation explosion… how is the Christ child wishing to be born through you this season in unexpected ways?

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About Andrew Kukla

I am the proud father of four wonderful children, loving husband to Caroline, brother to three mostly wonderful sisters, and son of two parents that gifted me with a foundation of love and freedom. I also am a Presbyterian pastor and former philosophy major with a love of too many words (written with many grammatical errors and parenthetic thoughts), Soren Kierkegaard, and reflections on living a life of discipleship that is open to all the challenges, ups and downs, brokenness and grace, of a chaotic and wonderful life founded upon the love of God for all of creation.

Posted on December 18, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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