The small trailer shivered in the high-desert wind.
Frost glazed the louvered windows of my tiny bedroom window. My sister was tucked into her bed above me; she attained the top-bunk since she’s five years my senior. Our bedroom door framed the small tree that shimmered as Christmas lights flickered off its tinseled tresses. Anticipation kept us awake. We whispered, we giggled.
“Go to sleep if you want Christmas to come,” called mom from the other room.
Eventually, we acquiesced.
When I awoke, the little trailer was quiet, the New Mexico wind had settled down in the valley somewhere and the cottonwoods ceased their creaking. The sky was still smudged with the dark of night, but enough light came through the frozen window to tell me one thing: Christmas morning had come!
My feet fell to the floor and I scampered out to the central room of our family home that winter, a tiny 10 foot by 30 foot trailer. I was blind to the cramped shabbiness, I saw only magic.
Magic on the floor around the tree in the pile of gifts. Magic in the stockings that leaned against the wall (there was no fireplace mantle). Magic in the the light that spilled golden over the room.
My sister and I stood and stared at the wonder, both in our matching flannel gowns and nightcaps our Aunt Loris had sewn, just like Laura and Mary Ingalls wore in the Little House on the Prairie. Our eyes shown under ruffled caps as we surveyed the scene and thrilled at the moments to come and the gifts to open, the turkey in the oven and the sugar cookies to sneak.
I was four and this was my most marvelous, trailer-house Christmas.
A small girl’s dream came true that Christmas. My sister and I had fallen in love with these tall-as-me walking dolls with glossy hair and real, store-bought dresses and shoes. We lived leanly, but our parents had managed to fulfill the wish of our hearts. That Christmas day we played and danced and walked with our dollies.
Sometimes a dream sustains us until that day it becomes reality.
God’s chosen people, the Israelites, spent many years pining for the dream of being a whole nation, under God. When they toiled in Egypt, when they were scattered, when they were in Babylonian captivity. But God had even more planned for them. In Isaiah, the prophet shares the word of the Lord with his people and tells them (and us) of the future glory he has planned:
“Arise, shine; for your light has come,
And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness will cover the earth
And deep darkness the peoples;
But the LORD will rise upon you
And His glory will appear upon you.
Nations will come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.
No longer will you have the sun for light by day,
Nor for brightness will the moon give you light;
But you will have the LORD for an everlasting light,
And your God for your glory.
Your sun will no longer set,
Nor will your moon wane;
For you will have the LORD for an everlasting light,
And the days of your mourning will be over.
Then all your people will be righteous;
They will possess the land forever,
The branch of My planting,
The work of My hands,
That I may be glorified.
The smallest one will become a clan,
And the least one a mighty nation.
I, the LORD, will hasten it in its time.” (NASB)
Friends, this Christmas, dream big like God does.
Don’t limit yourself to wish lists and new year resolutions, cookie parties and decorating — while all this is good and fun, the purpose of it all should point us to the best thing: being in the presence of the glorified Lord.
Arise, shine, for your light has come!