Christmas Meditation delivered by the Rev. Timothy C. Ahrens at the First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Columbus, Ohio, December 24, 2002, 7:30pm service, dedicated to Mattes Natalia Brown and all the babies born this night across the globe, that they may know peace upon their arrival and throughout their lifetime and always to the glory of God!

"Breath in Stable Air"

Isaiah 9:2-7; Luke 2:1-20

(Part IV of V in the Advent/Christmas sermon series: "Glimpses at the Beginning: Moments in the Seasons of Life")

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Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of each one of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our strength and our salvation. Amen.

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Mary - breathless - pushed one last time to deliver her baby boy;

Having pushed for hours, having breathed sporadically,

now Mother sighed, father gasped,

Cattle stared, sheep glanced,

the world held its breath

the savior screamed as

He emerged from the womb of eternal life.

He started breathing in stable air that was so foul.

But, He was alive!

He lives and breathes still, especially in stable air!

His is the breath of "ruach" - of divine spirit,

His breath - sustaining presence,

His breath - inspiring purpose, moving power,

His breath - promise.

His breath - hope.

His breath is the essence of God!

Tonight, of all nights, come to the stable and breathe!

The air is filled with the smells of living things,

but do not hold your breath, Tonight.

Tonight, of all nights, do not cease hoping.

the stable air may not smell good,

but it is life giving.

The smell, tonight, is a mix of heaven and earth.

And you must breathe, tonight.

To cease your breathing in stable air will only devour you.

Divine breath,

Prophetic breath,

Breath of Salvation,

Breath which cries out against evil

Breath which will stabilize the world.

Breathe on me breath of God!

Tonight....

Follow your nose. It will filter stable air.

Listen to your breath on this cold winter night.

Listen to your life on this cold winter night.

Listen to the cries of those who are beginning to breath in stable air

and you will find the Savior there

calling you - breathe Him in - eternally.

Listen.

Look.

Touch.

Taste.

Smell.

He was not made, this one whom we come to adore.

He was begotten, created, shaped,

molded in the womb of God's precious being.

This One is different, yet of the same being as you and me,

yet of the same being of God, of Spirit.

Tonight, we sing in adoration -

"O Come let us adore Him!"

But, as we come and take and give breath in stable air,

Let us remember him, too.

This One, born in a manger will die on a cross.

This One who is breathing stable air

will become breathless of the Hill of Skulls.

This One, this babe of Bethlehem, this breath of God,

He wants more than our sung words,

more than our vocalization of beginning moments.

He wants us!

He wants our hearts.

He wants our souls.

He wants our essence.

He wants our breath to speak of things eternal.

He wants our faith, our hope, our love, our lives to sing forever,

not just tonight. Not just in stable air.

Come let us adore Him.

Come let us follow Him.

Come, breathe, stable air.

Come, Holy Spirit.

Mary - breathless - pushed one last time to deliver her baby boy;

Now - Mother sighs, father gasps,

World holds its breath.

Savior screams, emerging from heaven to earth.

It begins again. It ends again.

Breathe on me breath of God.

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