The Dance and the Manger

I have discovered a secret weapon for when my little girl cries and is hard to comfort. Rather than fretting, worrying or shushing, I simply dance with her. It might look strange to outsiders but I look right into her eyes, even when they are screwed shut and covered in tears and we begin to dance.

Step after step, beat after beat, no matter the song, something begins to change. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, her face begins to change. Tears give way to wide-eyed wonder, which slowly fades to quiet peace. With a tune of praise or worship to my God in my head or playing softly around us, something changes in me too. No longer am I a dad with a fussy baby; I am a worshipper bringing all I have to my God, even my children, even my crying daughter.

As a give my whole heart to my God and my full attention to my daughter, the dance begins to slow. I pull her closer to me and rest her head against my shoulder. The steps become gentler and the rhythm less pronounced. Slowly, ever so slowly, my little girl falls asleep and I am left dancing or walking slowly meditating on the goodness of my God and even the weight on my shoulder seems lighter.

This evening I realised this is all a kind of Christmas parable. Jesus saw us crying and fussing and desperately seeking something we could never find on our own – peace. Rather than shushing or fretting He came down and danced with us. On Christmas Day we remember that the same God who threw the stars into space came down and lived with us, as one of us.

Before Jesus died for us, He lived with us. He danced our dance and brought us peace. And then, when it came time for him to move from dance to death and of course, to life again, He left us with a promise.

“My peace I leave with you.”

When Jesus’ dance here on earth was finished, He left us with a new dancing partner – one who could dance each step with each of us, who could hold us all. When it was time for Jesus to return to the Father, He left the precious Holy Spirit to dance us to peace.

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