Just Hold the Baby

It is that time again! After Halloween, the holidays seem to approach like a freight train. We see them chugging toward us and sometimes it feels as if we are tied to the railroad tracks, awaiting their crushing weight and other times it feels as if we are running full speed ahead of the train, trying to outrun it. It is easy to lose sight of what we are really seeking. In the Christian tradition we sing a carol that speaks to our desire to connect with the true essence of the celebration. The song Silent Night evokes the vision of an iconic setting in which the infant Jesus sleeps in “heavenly peace.” Often, however, moments of peace are hard to come by. This year, as we re-enter the festive, fun, and often frantic holiday season. I would like to share a treasured experience from several years ago. It has come to my aid many times since. I hope it will unwrap an image you can recall on your journey, even if Christmas is not a part of your tradition. It was after New Years and the kids had gone back to school. I was sitting alone and quiet. In my meditation I poured out my lament to God, “What happened? Our holidays were so busy! All I wanted was that sweet little baby (meaning Jesus). In my spirit I heard a response. The kind Voice said, “Here… why don’t you just hold Him for a while?” In my heart I was tenderly offered a soft bundle of newborn sweetness. I took the baby in my arms and gathered him to myself. Closing my eyes, I could feel a gentle warmth spread through my body like a sip of warm cocoa. The “heavenly peace” I sought settled within me like a blanket. I sat for several moments in this reverie, my breath slowing…my mind quieting, my spirit savoring… In the last moments of this encounter, a surprising occurrence took place. As I held the baby it became clear that he was also holding me, enfolding my entire being in love. Beyond time and space, I was holding that dear soul while being held by the same! I invite you to join me in seeking times of soft stillness. Imagine holding close what is dearest to you. Breathe in peace… breathe out rest. And know that you are seen known, loved and held. Perhaps the sound of the approaching train will transform into the comforting rhythm of being rocked and carried.