Year promises joy, sorrow

YEAR PROMISES JOY, SORROW

A mother sits in the bed holding her sleeping newborn infant. She looks down at him in love and wonder, and in awe at such an amazing miracle of God. And she wonders. She wonders who he will be and what he will become. She wonders about his joys and his sorrows. She wonders about the shape of this little one’s life journey.

Mary sits holding her sleeping newborn infant. She looks down at him in love and wonder, and in awe at such an amazing miracle of God. He is the most amazing child ever born and his is the most amazing birth. The angel has told her who he is and has given her his name, but Mary still wonders at all the angel has not said. She wonders who this little miracle called the Son of God will be and what in God’s miraculous power he will become. She wonders about his joys and his sorrows. She wonders about the shape of this little one’s life journey. This little One who flung the stars across the canvas of the universe. This little One, this Almighty One, who has chosen to become small and weak to make us strong.

And so even Mary, the mother of God, once joins mothers in all times and in all places, and the rest of us as well, as we gaze at the known and we wonder about the unknown. As new parents, we hold the little answers to a nine-month-long question in our hands, and the reality dawns on us that, though now we see the little one whose coming we had longed for, this little sleeping answer to our prayers brings more questions than answers. We thank God for what is, but we wonder what will come.

And what is true of our little ones, and what was true even of Mary’s little One, is true of this new year, this new moment in time on whose verge we stand right now. It’s true of 2004.

2004 will be an adventure for each of us. It’s an adventure because life itself is an adventure. We don’t know what it may hold.

2004 will hold for each of us some wonderful and surprising joys. It will also hold some deep sorrows. Such is the patchwork of life. But I hope we face it all with a faith-born depth of peace and joy that only comes from knowing and trusting the Author of life and living in his presence.

Writer Kenneth Wilson tells of living as a small boy in a big, old, dark, multi-story, creaking and rattling house in Pittsburgh. At night the old dwelling could be a scary place. One evening his father read him a bedtime story and then asked, “Would you rather I leave the light on and go downstairs, or turn the light out and stay with you for awhile?” Wilson says, “I chose presence with darkness, over absence with light.”

It was a good choice. In the face of an unknown future, which sometimes seems dark because we see with weak and human eyes, choose to trust God and live in his presence.

Curtis Shelburne is minister at 16th and Ave. D Church of Christ in Muleshoe. He can be contacted at:
ckshel@aol.com