Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.” Matthew 2: 10
And the three wise men (actually probably astrologers) continued on their journey following the star until they reached Bethlehem in Judea—the birthplace of the King whom they found lying quietly in the lowly and dank manger. Traditions of the day tell us that they would have also seen sheep, lambs and donkeys as they rode in on their camels.
But historical accounts give no indication that they saw any wild turkeys.
It was a few years ago, but I remember the sky was just starting to lighten in that early morning as the sun was beginning to splash through the tree branches of our new back yard. We were in the process of moving into our new home. I had successfully maneuvered my way through the boxes remaining to be unpacked—scattered throughout our new home—to the back door to let Pansy, our Bassett Hound outside.
I was still a little groggy—Lynda and I were both pretty tired from all the requirements of moving for the first time in twenty-eight years—but I was awake enough to see a wild turkey walking very slowly about 50 yards away through the back yard. Pansy watched with me, for some reason suspending what would have been her usual desire to bark which would have scared him away. Perhaps she, too, appreciated his majesty, as he glided along toward the nearby woods, unruffled by our early morning intrusion into his world. He moved quietly, majestically, unhurried, taking his time to enjoy the new plants in the yard as he walked along, until he disappeared into the woods.
As silly as this may seem to you, it was a special moment for me, I can almost describe it as a God-appointed holy moment, because in that moment all the urgent things on my agenda—and there were many—were suspended as unimportant. I sensed the presence of God, and I sensed that God was taking that brief moment in my life to teach me again about the important “wild turkey” moments and priorities of my life. And just in case I needed a final reminder—He knew I was often slow on the up-take—He sent Hannah later that day.
Of course our then two-year-old Granddaughter, along with our Daughter-in-law Amy, was a big help with all the unpacking. First, Hannah would continually check out all the rooms and secret passages in the house to make sure they had sufficient space on the floors and on the furniture for her to play. That was very important to her and of course it was very important to us.
Then, she would, every now and then, provide Lynda and me with what I refer to as a “wild turkey” moment in the midst of our unpacking of boxes and putting stuff away. For it seemed that just as you had your arms full of dishes, or towels, or were carrying a box that seemed to weigh 100 pounds, Hannah would find one of us, look up at us, and lift her arms toward us—signaling that she needed to be picked up and held. In that moment we were provided with a choice: to go on with what we were doing; or to recognize a God-ordained “holy moment” was before us, and put down what we had had in our hands and pick up the precious little child of God standing before us. The reward was always the same; a head nestled on your shoulder and a hug that seemed to be a direct gift from God.
Have you had any of those majestic “wild turkey” moments lately? Or perhaps you haven’t recognized them in the midst of your busyness and daily “got to make a living” schedule. The wise men recognized the moment had come. The moment which had been prophesied down through the ages. And we need to recognize that it’s coming again for each of us.
Like Hannah came to Lynda and me throughout the moments of an exhausting day, and like the wild turkey came to Pansy and me in a weary early morning moment—God comes to us with arms outstretched and meets us in those familiar areas of our lives where we live—and most often where we need Him most.
Whether to the shepherds tending their flocks in the fields, or the wise men through a star, or a Samaritan woman gathering her daily supply of water at the well—God, the Babe of Bethlehem, comes to us with outstretched arms.
Whether to a patient in a surgical room and a family waiting anxiously for good news nearby, a woman struggling with the prospect of long-term nursing care, through the heartbreak of a mother grieving over an injured child, a Husband and Father trying to figure out how he will support his family in the aftermath of losing his job, or in the tears at a funeral service for a loved one who has forever gone from our side—God comes, the Babe of Bethlehem comes again to us with arms outstretched to meet us in our moment of need.
The wise men probably didn’t see any wild turkeys that morning so long ago, but it was a life-changing moment for them, because in the face of a tiny baby they saw the King of Kings in the midst of the everyday places of their lives. And that moment is here again for each one of us. He has come with outstretched arms, to embrace us where we are, and take us where we ought to be—on our knees by the side of the manger—to worship and dwell with the eternal Hope of the world for all the rest of our days.
Here’s to our recognition of those “wild turkey” moments in our lives, and especially the life-changing moment we are fast approaching again—the celebration of the birth of The King—and the outstretched arms of the Babe of Bethlehem.
In His Name—Scott