Yes, I skipped Days 7 and 8. I am making this work for me and not making myself work for this. Also, life.
Imagine you are sitting in a circle by a fire, and I am telling you this story:
My breath warmed my cupped hands. A cup of hot cocoa with mini marshmallows would have been nice, but when you don’t have what you want…
All I wanted – other than a warm beverage – was to go home and get some sleep, but my father had asked me to shepherd his flock, and so there I was – tending to his sheep at nightfall. There was this one time when I told my father ‘no’… I could not sit for days. “Your family needs you. It’s an honor and a responsibility,” he said. I never questioned his orders again.
In the field, surrounded by livestock, I yearned for a cell phone with an Internet connection. Scrolling mindlessly through endless social media feeds sounded a lot more interesting than staring at grazing animals. It wasn’t like I could talk to the other shepherds – they were all a million years old. Give or take a few decades.
Bored out of my mind, I rolled my eyes, climbed onto what seemed to be a lookout tower, and spread my blanket. It was rough to the touch and rather thin, but it was better than having to sit directly on the cold floor. My mother must have slipped it into my bag with some provisions before I left. Father wouldn’t have allowed that – he trained me to be able to withstand anything. He grew up with very little, and he was painfully aware of the fact that nothing was ever promised.
The sky was dark but clear, filled with sparkling stars – no light pollution. Simply beautiful; no filter needed. In an attempt to pass the time, I lifted my head towards the sky and leaned back to try and identify some of the constellations when the night turned into day, and the sun filled the sky. Or so I thought. The brightness was overwhelming.
“Joshua!” I heard my name in a voice I could not place.
Carefully, with my eyes still adjusting, I got down from the tower and saw my fellow shepherds on their knees, trembling. As I looked up, I saw a heavenly creature dressed in white. “Your Savior is born. Go, and bow to the one you find wrapped up in swaddling clothes in a manger.”
I wondered how my brother managed to come up with such an elaborate trick – I’ve never seen a lamp that bright. But then, a whole squadron of angels descended from heaven and sang songs of glory. Pretty magical. I was in awe.
The shepherds got up and nudged me along with them, leaving the flock behind. The whole way, they talked about some Messiah they wanted to witness, and I could not bring myself to tell them they probably needed VIP access to see a celebrity of such caliber.
We didn’t walk for long before coming upon a manger with a young couple… and a Son in swaddling clothes – just like the angel prophesied.
“Come,” the young woman gestured for us to approach. “I’m sure you’re here to see Him. He’s a very special guy,” she added as she rocked the baby to sleep.
His face radiated light and peace.
I’ve never been bored since that day. Always searching, always striving – to get to Him as close as I did that day.
The story behind today’s scene:
I’ve recently been introduced to a new style of prayer. As you are contemplating scripture, you are to imagine yourself as part of the scene. What do you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel? The goal of the exercise is for you to get closer to God with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
While I use my imagination quite often when penning stories, I found it rather difficult to transport myself to a place that I wasn’t familiar with, to where I was surrounded by people from thousands of years ago who didn’t speak my language. But I am on a journey, and I want to give this a try. Doing this during SepSceneWriMo seems like perfect timing.
Today’s scene is my first attempt at imaginative contemplation. It feels awkward, but I look forward to:
a) stretching my imagination even further
b) letting the Holy Spirit take me to new heights.
While this exercise is religious in nature to me, I believe it could also be used by students to help them learn about historical events (If you place yourself in a battle, you will remember it for much longer than if you just read about it in your course book.), or those of you who analyze social situations (If I was Kathy or Brian, what would I say to myself and how would I feel?).
Let me know if you’ve ever tried imaginative prayer or anything like that.
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