Earlier this week, some people went outside to watch the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter. I didn’t, because we had clouds.
Actually, I went outside because I needed to go home from work, but we had clouds in northeast Indiana so I didn’t look for planets.
When I read that, “In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock,” I’m aware that the shepherds who were directed to Bethlehem were well acquainted with clouds and stars and planets. Without light pollution, they were more aware than I have ever been.
Which may be why David was more poetic than I am. And it’s possible that the shepherds were well acquainted with his poetry, that they thought about his reflection about the heavens:
“The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the expanse proclaims the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour out speech;
night after night they communicate knowledge.
There is no speech; there are no words;
their voice is not heard.
Their message has gone out to the whole earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.“
And while they watched, this particular group, the heavens actually did fill with words.
From time to time, as we go about our lives, doing what we do, we stop for a moment. And sometimes, when we do, we might hear angels.
That’s why the Advent journal suggests this for today:
Go outside. This may mean taking your whole body outside or looking out a window or looking at a photo of outside or even remembering outside in your imagination. But get as close to outside as you can. And then look up. Look around. For five minutes.
It doesn’t seem like much. But it’s the middle of the week of Christmas. Celebrations are going to get started. Or not get started. So whether you need a moment to focus or to lament or to smile or to breathe, go outside.