How do you wake up in the morning? What’s the first thing you do? What’s the first thought in your head? When is the first moment of the day when you feel truly awake and connected to the world?
That the Lord has made…
I have a problem with waking up. I don’t like it. Honestly, I don’t really believe that anyone likes waking up. Morning people are a myth created to make us all feel guilty for not getting up when our jobs want us to so they can bleed us dry faster. It’s a cynical view of things, but there it is. Of course, I could just be saying that because I haven’t had my morning coffee yet.
Still, have you ever noticed the way the Bible treats mornings? In some of the psalms and poems of the Bible, the morning is a stunning moment. One of my favorite descriptions is from the Song of Solomon:
“Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?” (ch. 6, v. 10)
What a wonderful way to think of mornings! Yes, sometimes the morning is terrible and makes just as much noise an army. It’s enough to give you a headache any day. But still, the idea that the morning is something shining, something impressive, something overwhelming and powerful – that is a way to approach a day!
We will rejoice…
Nevertheless, I and I think many other Christians fall into seeing every day as more of a struggle than a victory. There are so many bad influences and temptations that we face in this world that facing another day can seem like a slog through the slough of despond (if you know your Pilgrim’s Progress). My mother and I have talked about her feelings that tend toward wanting the end to come already or be released from life to just go to heaven and be with God so she doesn’t have to deal with the world anymore. Perhaps it is a difference in viewpoint between the elder and the younger, but I do not believe that is the best way to look at the world.
Every morning when I say the morning office, I say the Venite, exultemus Domino. You may know it:
“O come, let us sing unto the Lord; let us heartily rejoice in the strength of our salvation.”
The first thing we should do with our day is to rejoice, to be happy, to be positive, even if it is before our morning coffee. This kind of joy about the world and about life is so quintessentially Christian an attitude that we take it for granted. I’m not saying that some despondency about the world is a bad thing. I, too, have my pessimistic ideas. But as an overarching view of living, it isn’t the best, nor is it supported by the faith.
And be glad in it
Some of the bleakness Christians feel about the world comes from looking at all the evils in it. How often do you hear ministers and preachers talk about the sin of the world and the bad influences and how corrupt everything is? I’ve heard America compared by not-kooky preachers as a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah, or commenting that there could easily be a second flood to wipe out our wickedness. Don’t they remember that Christ has already won?
Literally, Christians have the most to be happy about out of everyone in the world. But increasingly, happiness is a secular virtue that Christians lament and discourage among their own. This is so backwards. By definition, Christians have the ultimate happiness – Christ. So why do we come off as the unhappiest group of people in the world?
Another line from that chapter of the Song of Solomon has another message for mornings:
“Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib.” (v. 12)
We are powerful enough through our faith to face anything and everything the day has to throw at us. There is no evil that can conquer over what Christ has won for Himself. Sure, mornings suck. Sometimes it takes a lot more coffee to get motivated than other times. And yes, the world has its problems. But are Christians of this world? Or do we belong to Christ?
Next time I wake up, I cannot guarantee that I will be this chipper. I’m not actually that chipper now, either. I’ve just had one cup of coffee and I’m on to my second. But while my daily work may be caffeine fueled, my view on life is not. And that, despite some grumbling and grumpiness, makes every day better.