“The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.…”

The stories we know and treasure, associated with this time of year, shine with visions.

There are, of course, those sugar plums from Clement Clark Moore’s famous telling of “A Visit from St. Nicholas”

And from our treasure trove of sacred Christian story, there is Joseph’s vision of an angel in a dream, allaying his fears and misgivings about marrying his already-pregnant betrothed maiden Mary.

There’s Mary’s vision of her own angel, announcing the impossible dual realities, that both she and her aged cousin are with child.

And then there are those dear shepherds, trembling with fear, at their collective vision of a heavenly host, bearing good tidings of great joy at the birth of One Who Saves.

If Christmas is a time of visions, what vision glimmers silently in the temple of your own heart? What good news do you dare pour your heart-soul energy into, to make it shine more brightly? What glad tidings are inviting you to cast aside your fear — or perhaps, to step forward amidst and despite your fear — to have the courage to fully believe in, in order that it be birthed, made manifest and incarnate?

Perhaps it is a vision of yourself — or a loved one — healed and well, in body-mind-soul.

Perhaps it is a vision of a broken relationship mended and whole.

Perhaps it is a vision of a school, neighborhood or city thriving with the heartbeat of life.

In yesterday’s Bible study, we danced with a story from the Book of Acts, about a man “lame from birth” who is able to stand and walk on his own, for the first time in his life, after a transformative 1-on-1 encounter with the apostle Paul.

Paul sees in the man something that others, including the man himself, had not seen before — “that he had faith to be healed” (Acts 14:10). Paul proclaimed out loud the Word of the vision he saw — “Stand upright on your feet” — and it indeed was made flesh — “And the man sprang up and began to walk.”

How many of us have our own stories, of people in our lives who saw in us something that we ourselves could not (yet) see; who told us and spoke aloud their vision, encouraging us (the word “encourage” derives from the Latin cor which means heart, so imagine heart-soul energy being poured into your own heart) to “make it flesh”: teachers, coaches, mentors, colleagues, partners, friends.

There’s a story told about Michelangelo who, when asked how he could create the magnificent sculpture of David from a block of marble, replied that he simply chipped away at everything that wasn’t David. In other words, he had a vision of David that he was chipping away at, to liberate and bring forth from that block of stone. And I wonder, who might have encouraged him, to manifest that vision?

Christmas is a time of heavenly visions and bringing them forth into our earthly world.

What is your vision? 

Can you see it?

Can you feel it?

Can you believe in it?

It’s time, Beloved, for you … for Us … to bring it forth …