I was sleepy on Sunday morning as I drove out of the driveway. Not the coffee grinder nor my clanking around roused my family, who, like everybody else, was coming off of a long weekend of staying up late and sleeping in (relatively speaking). I get up at 6:30 on Sunday mornings when I have to preach, and on this holiday weekend when it seemed like the world was still asleep, I was a little bit bitter.

I finished my coffee, got in my car and turned out of my street. I was heading down the empty street, sighing bitterly, when I saw this:

Really? I mean, REALLY?

Sometimes, God is silent. I’ve been there.

Sometimes, God smiles at us with rainbows. Literal rainbows. I was on my way to preach about the importance of keeping awake, and I hadn’t gotten the message myself until right then.

Those Advent (the season before Christmas in our church) Bible stories sound scary until you have an experience like this. They sound like this: if we don’t keep awake, something terrible is going to happen to us. But what if it’s the reverse? What if…..if we ARE awake, we experience something wonderful, a gift of God?

I was so glad to be awake that morning to see that rainbow. It was a blessed sky, as the Southern saying goes, and it came home to me that when I have been kept awake or woken up early that I have gotten some of the greatest gifts of my whole life.

Early morning runs with my friend Kathy, running an hour in the dark and then watching the light come as we shed our lamps and layers.
Being jet lagged on a Christmas morning when I was ten years old, and waiting in the dark for the light and the gifts to blessedly come.
My dad, when he was alive, rising early to drink OJ and read the paper. When I was little, I thought he never slept.
My daughter, born at 6 in the morning.
My son, born at 7.

Rising early on Sunday mornings, the rest of the world’s day to stay in bed, so that I can proclaim again the good news to myself and the people who, miraculously, have gotten out of bed because they need to hear it again, and they need to hear it early in the morning. Blessed. So, so blessed.

“I say to you what I say to all…..keep awake!”


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