There’s something special about seeing the start of the day, and it’s even nicer to be praying at dawn or shortly after. I’m glad to have begun the Church year and the Year of Faith this way.
Not every morning, but a few times a week I’ve been enjoying some prayer time at first light, either reading Morning Prayer from the Divine Office, or just resting in the awareness of God’s presence. It’s an unexpected perk of having a newborn, and a consolation for missing sleep.
This has been a pure gift, and a weird irony. Usually I would like to pray in the morning but feel too tired to get up earlier and do so. Now I have fewer hours of sleep but more time to pray. It must be Providence, because it sure isn’t through any conscientiousness on my part!
It has just happened that Isaac is waking up around 5am for a breastfeed and I sometimes feel alert enough to stay awake while he does so, instead of just closing my eyes and half-dozing. The only things on my bedside table are my phone, which I use to check the time during the night feeds, my Bible and a baby care book.
The Bible is too big for me to comfortably read from while feeding Isaac, so I pick up my phone and use it to pray Morning Prayer off the Internet. It’s perfect.
I’m sure it has helped me through these first four weeks of Isaac’s life with us. Isaac is an easy baby to care for, but adding a newborn to a clutch of four young children still requires an adjustment period, and I’ve had cranky or tearful moments. Peter may argue that is an understatement!
But I have had overwhelmingly more cheerful moments and more patience, I’m sure, because of that bit of quiet time in the mornings to reflect on how great God is, and how blessed I am.
I am grateful for every bit of patience I can muster now. And I hope that, like a muscle, the more moments I can use patience, the stronger it is getting.
Like when the girls find out that Joachim has again raided the stash of candy canes and chocolates they received from school friends. On and on they will bicker and Jacob will begin crying for lollies too while my head throbs with fatigue and I fight the urge not to howl and throw the whole lot in the bin in front of them.
But, oh, it is so very precious to have a newborn boy here at Christmas time. Looking after him is a very easy and sweet way to give something of ourselves to the Christ-child. And it causes me to wonder at this person, Jesus, afresh.
He was the one person in all of time who somehow, as a grown man, was as innocent and fresh and adorable (literally) as he was as an infant, for the people who had the eyes to see.
Whichever way you come to Christ this Christmas, or he comes to you, I wish you a very happy Christmas close to the Lord and other loved ones.