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Monday, February 16, 2009

An Acquired Taste

Titling my blog Sunrise might seem an odd choice. People who knew me in my early years suspected my most authentic encounters with the dawn came through literary descriptions. They might have been right.

I wasn't always an early riser. I might be genetically predisposed to staying up very late and compensating the next morning. Or maybe I learned peculiar habits early in life. In regard to sleeping habits, I came from mixed heritage. My father went to bed early and was never seen after 9 pm except on those rare occasions when he appeared in his too short pajamas to scare away poor young men who had lost track of curfew at my house. My mother on the other hand preferred to sleep until ten am and regularly began her housework after my father was asleep.

I'm not sure what would have become of me if I hadn't married into a family who believed early to bed and early to rise should have been the eleventh commandment. My husband faced early morning as if he really loved it, and since I loved him, I tried to tolerate it as well. The more often I awakened early, the better I liked it. I concluded watching the sun rise might be an acquired taste.

I began a love affair with those early hours when they took on personal spiritual significance. A significant phase in my spiritual growth was heralded by a recurring phrase in my head, "Your light will break forth like the dawn." After a morning when I sat in total darkness and watched day dawn over the Gulf of Mexico, I understood more clearly the work God was beginning in my life. It was truly the dawn of a new day for me.

As I progressed in my spiritual journey, I no longer awoke early out of duty. Increasingly I was awakened by a hunger to spend time in the Word. Those early hours took on added significance as I concluded along with Isaiah "He awakens me morning by morning! He awakens my ear to listen as a disciple (50:4)." It helps to know that Jesus also sought time with his Father in the early hours. In Luke 4:42, it says 'And when day came, He departed and went to a lonely place' and spent time in prayer.

But while sunrise is a great time to spend in prayer, it is more than just a time of day. Sunrise is what Zacharias used to describe Jesus as he prayed following the birth of his son John who was the forerunner of Christ. He prophesied, "Because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high shall visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death."

Sunrise then is more than a great way to start the day. It is more than the quiet hours for getting in tune with the Fathers heart. Sunrise is the very person of Jesus who is the theme of my life. My prayer is that the blogs I post will reflect him and spread his light.