The other morning, I was waking up out of a nightmare that left me feeling a little out-of-sorts.
I was seeing images of my family, and things familiar to me in New Hampshire. And none of it was good. I mean, the people and things themselves were good. But what was happening to them was not. I saw my family was homeless, and nowhere to go. All the houses around my hometown were vacant. The sky was dark, and there was snow falling on an already very wintry scene. And I saw this figure rising up, a shadowy character with flaming red eyes and a fanged-tooth grinning smirk of a smile. His blackened head looked like a lion and his torso was contorted and weird. He stared at me and chortled: "Where is your God now?" Seeing my despair, he kept up the laughter and the taunting.
For a moment I thought, "I don't know where God is." And then I saw myself standing inside a circle. And as I stood there...continuing to ponder the tempter's question....I found myself searching, both internally and externally, for God. The tempter had wanted to know where my God was, and I was determined now to find God. As I searched the circle and the scene beyond it with my eyes, and as I breathed deeply to seek God within, I found myself becoming calmer and realizing that even in this moment of desperation, God was still there for me. All I needed to do was look, find and tap into this powerful source of love and good. The more I could trust in this truth, the calmer I would become. And in the calm of being centered, I could defeat this demon.
And that's when I woke up.
I thought this was an interesting dream to have on the Fourth Sunday of Advent when the lesson out of the gospel was the annunciation to Mary that she's about to have this kid with God; isn't it great?! (say "Yes," Mary. It's the thing you've always wanted to do!) The focus of the reading was on Mary as was much of the music at the service. But, given the dream I'd had, the line that leaped out and zapped me was:
"For nothing will be impossible with God".
The angel Gabriel says this after having told Mary, "Congratulations! You're going to have the Most High Son of David! And that barren cousin of yours, Elizabeth, well....she ain't barren no more!" Pretty freakin' amazing stuff. Just as amazing as standing in a circle and fighting off a tempter by simply seeking out God. I think it is in those moments of feeling knocked around by life, or when the world waps you upside the head, that God steps into the breech. I have no idea what Mary thought of this angel Gabriel and his amazing message. From the account in Luke, she's merely puzzled and then submits as a servant of God in the same way others had in the Old Testament (the words "Here I am" are the 'correct' answer when God comes a-knockin' at the door!) One could speculate that this poor, lowly, unwed teenager in Nazareth (which seems to carry the stigma of Newark) would have been more than "perplexed" by Gabriel. But we just don't know.
What we do know is in a moment where she might have wanted to run and hide, she stood in her own proverbial circle and said, "Here I am". And from there....we of Christian belief...know what happened.
I don't know what's happening in any of your lives at the moment, but consider what is possible if you invite God to be part of your day-to-day existence. Because, with God, nothing is impossible.