I woke up one morning last week remembering a weird dream I had during the night. There were two dreams with different people involved but the same thread running through both …I was looking for love in all the wrong places and flirting with other men …thankfully, men I didn’t know in dream world or in my real-life-world. Whew! Too many Hallmark Christmas movies? (Naaaa…I love those movies!)
The second dream had another thread as well. I was at the beach at a vacation spot but instead of vacationing, I was working non-stop with no time to really enjoy the salt air breezes and peaceful beauty all around.
At some point in this dream I had one of those “Aha” moments and began saying, “What do I usually do at the beach?” It sure wasn’t work! It looked more like taking long walks along the sandy beach…sitting in my favorite beach chair and reading a book while listening to the waves fold into the sand along the shore …having meaningful conversations with family and friends along the sea wall at the end of the day. With this realization and a new-found determination, I decided to go outside and enjoy life and not be so consumed with work.
With only a few brain cells operating fully, these dreams were miraculously still fresh on my mind as I went to fix my morning coffee. I mumbled some mental, inaudible prayer within those few, operating brain cells and asked God if there was anything He was trying to tell me in those dreams.
In spite of morning brain fog, the Spirit broke through with His light on the subject revealing familiar words about “not leaving your first love.” I knew these words well. I knew where to go in the Bible to confirm them. The interpretation was clear.
Immediately I sensed these dreams weren’t about the shame or guilt of flirting with other “loves” — a person or work — but more about a wake-up call to re-focus my attention on the Love of my life — Jesus Christ.
“You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.”
Maybe it’s because we’re in the middle of the Advent season but in a round-about-kind-of-way, this took me back to a special day …just 10 days before Christmas — 32 years ago — as I looked into the face of our firstborn son — Roger III. I was smitten.
It was that mother’s first love of her firstborn child that creates the deepest well of love ever experienced. A love inside me welled up from a place I didn’t even know existed before. My life would never be the same. I was now a mama …nurturer and care-taker to this precious gift of this son God had given us.
My world would now revolve around this 9 pound, 4 ounce bundle of a baby boy … his naps, feedings, playtime, and watching every move and developing stages of growth. I had looked at his face and that face would forever be etched in my mind and heart — my firstborn …that first love of a child born to us.
Christmas brings me back to that December day– the birth of our firstborn son — and also endears me to Mary as she gave birth to her own firstborn– Jesus, the Messiah.
“… the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger…” ( from Luke 2 –NIV)
With new eyes through a mama’s love, how she must have felt when she first looked into the face of her firstborn — the Son of God! The awe …the love …the overwhelming joy. The wait and labor of love was over. Her delivery accomplished. Sheer relief and unimaginable thrill as the process was complete and the promise revealed in the Christ-child. He was here. Her heart was full to overflowing. Mary would never be the same.
But that wonder has a way of wearing off…
What does it take to keep our gaze fixed on that Firstborn child, Jesus …staying with our First Love and remembering what that looks, smells and feels like…remembering the joy and intimacy and calling He gave us in the beginning as God intersected our lives personally with His wonder, love and grace.
Have I gotten so busy “for” Him that I’m losing sight “of” Him? Am I distracted by cleaning the barn and rearranging the hay bales? Am I too busy hosting the visitors who are coming to see Jesus that I’m failing to honor the King of King and Lord of Lords who is waiting patiently right beside me …with longing arms to hold me and have me look into His face to really see Him!?
Advent can help us remember …to wait for His coming again …to watch with expectation for Him to appear…again! This season can help us ponder as Mary did and treasure this truth deep in our hearts — that this Firstborn in the manger born over 2,000 years ago is always to be our First Love. Nothing else will ever satisfy the deep longing of our soul. No other love will ever be enough.
“What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom Angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Whom shepherds guard and Angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.”
Words:William Chatterton Dix
Music: “Greensleeves” — 16th Century English melody, Arranged by Sir John Stainer