Sunday, December 12, 2010
“Sleep Well, Dream Big, Love Bigger”
Some time ago, Time magazine published an intriguing cover article during the Advent season. The article that struck my attention was about sleep as I am one who struggles with sleep. For all that we know about the human body these days, scientists do not know the exact reason why we need sleep. We know why we need food, shelter, and clothing; but we do not know the reason why we need sleep.
And what is the reason for dreams, those strange images that bounce along our brain waves? We wake suddenly, and reality itself seems like a different world. Why do we need sleep? I believe the answer is this: We need sleep because we need to dream.
The Fourth Sunday of Advent is about a dream, the dream of Joseph. Not Mary's dream, but Joseph's dream. In fact, the story of the angel Gabriel appearing to the Virgin Mary appears in only one gospel, the gospel of Luke. In two other gospels, Mark and John, there is no account whatsoever of the physical birth of Jesus. We have four gospels, and they differ dramatically in how they tell the story of the birth of Jesus. In Matthew's gospel, the angel appears not to Mary at all, but to Joseph.
And it is Matthew's gospel that we read this year (Matthew 1:18-25). It is Joseph we hear and consider his point of view. Joseph dreamed something wonderful. It was astounding. God would enter the world. God would be born to his wife, as crazy as that was to understand. Joseph had some serious trusting in God to do! But Joseph had to trust someone else, too. Joseph had to trust Mary. I know Mary was his wife, and surely Joseph must have loved Mary. But, still, this took a lot of trust! And this is why Joseph's dream is so important. Joseph dreamed of the salvation of the world.
And for Joseph, the way of salvation meant trusting someone else. It may well be that true salvation comes through someone else. That is the lesson for us, too. Like Joseph, sometimes, we are supposed to trust God and then get out of the way. Trust that God is working through our wife, and then get out of the way. Trust that God is working in our children, and then get out of the way.
What are you giving for Christmas this year? I do not mean what are you getting. We all want something wonderful, I am sure. But what are you giving for Christmas? The greatest gift you can give this year is to believe in someone's dreams. The greatest gift you can give is to have faith in someone else; believe in their dreams. Believe in the dreams of the person you love. Believe in the dream of your husband. Believe in the dream of your wife. Believe in the dreams of your children. Believe in the dream of your hero, your leader, your friend. Believe in their dreams!
And sleep comfortably this season. I know some folks do not sleep well because of too much worry. The reason we sleep is to dream.The reason we have relationships is so that we will have someone who will believe in our dreams. God works through those relationships. God works through both Mary and Joseph. God needs both Luke's story of the annunciation to Mary and Matthew's story of Joseph's dream. They are miracle stories. God works through a young and wonderful woman, and her husband believes in her. That miracle can occur again and again. Believe in the dreams of the person you love. Believe in dreams this Christmas, and Jesus will be born again. Believe in dreams this Christmas, and yes, God will appear.
Sleep well, dream big and take care of yourself and one another..
Hope, Peace, Joy & Love,