My body screamed for more sleep. It was pitch black and very quiet. Why did I agree to get up so early on our girls weekend away? My friend had pleaded with me to wake up and watch the sunrise on the porch of the beach house we were staying at. She knew I was a single mom who was tired and ragged from working a full time job, cooking, cleaning house, taking care of the yard, and running around all busy with my children’s school and sports activities, so why not let me get some long needed rest?
When we first arrived she asked me if I had ever seen the sun rise on the beach. After I told her that I hadn’t, she became passionate about convincing me to get up early. As she talked, I heard something in my friend’s voice that intrigued me- a peaceful joy as she told me the simple plan for the morning, and I found myself agreeing that I would join her. She had never steered me wrong before.
But now, under the warmth of my covers, everything was telling me to stay in bed on this cold December morning and blow off the whole idea. All the other ladies were still asleep and I could roll over and be snoozing again in two seconds. Then I faintly heard my friend slipping on her shoes not far from me and I sighed. I had made a promise, and she was almost ready. So I mustered up what little energy I had and got out of bed.
Before long we were on the porch swing, looking out at the dark ocean with no sign of the sun yet. Not even a sliver. I waited and waited. Nothing. Nothing but a black sky and slow rolling waves that were lulling me back to sleep. I started to nod off, but the squeak of the swing and its hard cold wooden slats wouldn’t let me. My friend was silent; waiting patiently, seemingly content. I on the other was impatient. Thoughts raced through my head. When was this going to happen? Why did she have us wake up so early? How are my kids doing with me away? What am I going to get them for Christmas with virtually no money? And so on…
My eyes strained to see something on the horizon-anything. Maybe clouds were covering the sun. I scanned the vast waters from left to right, my eyes getting used to the darkness, but I could not make out any clouds. Maybe I was looking in the wrong direction. What was the right direction!? Then the words of a song from Mass the week before came back to me… people look east, the time is near…I glanced at my friend out of the corner of my eye, who I knew would be looking east, and strived to mimic her peaceful posture; unfortunately though, the ashy sky was still barren of any hint of light.
More lyrics floated through my head- stars keep the watch when night is dim and people look east and sing today, Love the Star is on the way. And I realized, that’s exactly what we were doing! Looking east, keeping watch in the dim night, and looking for the sun, our star to rise.
Slowly I began to settle into the still greyness all around me and started noticing things- the fresh smell of the salt water, the gentle wind that was brushing wisps of my hair, and sound of the waves caressing the sand. Then the song playing again, and those words, Love the Star is on the way. And I thought; my Lord and my God…MY LOVE was on the way! And not just in a sunrise, but as a babe into this world, for Christmas was just around the corner. The swing that seemed so cold and hard earlier now felt warm and cozy, and I laughed at the sight of a sandpiper leaving his tiny footprints all over the sand as he scampered after his breakfast.
After enjoying the bird’s antics for a while, I looked east again. It was different. Something was happening. The darkness was slowly fading. A faint hue lingered along the line where the sky and the water kissed. I kept my eyes on the horizon not wanting to miss a thing. There was a definite glow in the east. Yes, Love the Star was on the way.
What unfolded that morning is beyond words. There were no clouds to shield the view. No trees or mountains or buildings in the way. No rumble from traffic, or airplanes. Only endless sky and water and the soft sounds of nature. And entering into this masterpiece was an orb of light, so radiant and splendid. So colorful and warm. So perfect and peaceful. Love the Star was reflecting on the water, and a golden beam stretched all the way out, in a straight beeline towards me, touching me with the words… this is for you! The healing rays melted my dark worries away. I now felt the peace and joy that I heard in my friend’s voice the night before and was so very glad she convinced me to wake up early, for a love story was being written before my eyes and in my heart.
I thought of the other ladies still asleep in the beach house that was missing this work of art. I thought of the vast majority of people that were in this hemisphere, still asleep and not experiencing this sunrise. Not unlike the night Christ was born. Most everyone slept through it, and didn’t realize that an incredibly amazing thing was happening. But the sky knew. The stable animals knew. The angles knew and told the shepherds. And a few wise men anticipated. Do we know? Do we really know what an incredibly amazing thing happened out east over two thousand years ago?
We must be careful not to sleep through Christmas. Don’t miss what this day is all about. God so loved us, that he sent his only son to be our light in this dark world. He did this for us.
So as we grow close to the birth of our Sun of Justice, the birth of Love the Star, remember to take the time and
For the time is near.
And listen to the babe. He is saying,
“This is for you!”