Big dreams sometimes come in the darkest of winters. As a young girl, I could often be found on these dark nights watching the images of the beautiful ice skaters move across the television. I sat spellbound as their glittering costumes, and the graceful, rhythmic movements stole my heart.
At the tender age of 7, I was convinced I would one day be a professional ice skater. I could picture myself skating across the ice as the crowds held their breath waiting for my flawless jumps and perfectly timed movements. I would twirl my way through my living room convinced I would become a rising star.
As time went by, this fleeting dream faded. A few years ago, I had the joy of putting my feet into my first pair of ice skates and was transported back to those magical memories. I smiled as I gained my footing on the slippery surface and began gracefully soaring around the rink.
As a novice, I knew my short stint would never allow me to make the majestic jumps and twirls I had watched and studied so many ice skaters perform. I also was aware that the beautiful athletes who had stolen my heart on that TV were ones who were fiercely dedicated to the practice of their craft.
With each early morning and late-night practice, these athletes made continual sacrifices to become the best. They took the time to put in the effort. They watched their health, disciplined their minds and bodies, and kept the end goal in sight.
In the ice-skating world, there is a small rhythm that comes with each jump. Be it a double or triple turn in the air, with each one there was a quick, brief pause. It can go undetected if one doesn’t watch for it, but it is the pivotal point at which all successful maneuvers are made.
This brief pause in time is the one area that critics and judges talk about as the essential moment for the skater’s success. Depending on their pause, either they can make the jump, or they won’t, entirely based on the formation.
Without this pause, there can be loss and injury. But with it comes a beautiful result.
Woven into the glorious Christmas story, hidden amongst the shepherds and traveling wisemen, there are small pauses that easily can go undetected. Each character, in their own way, makes a pivotal pause. These intentional pauses are the springboard for each of them to find the glorious redemption of Christ’s arrival and experience the miracle that meets them in their own story.
Through the story we see them stop, wait, watch, ponder, and accept.
Mary pauses to praise the holiness of God in His choice of her to bear the Savior of the world.
Joseph humbly submits to the will of God in the new responsibility of being the earthly father of a King.
The shepherds pause to overcome their fear that they would physically be the witnesses of a holy child laying in a manger.
Mary takes the time to treasure all the mysteries and wonders wrapped up in the visitors who welcomed Jesus into the waiting world.
As I watch the twinkling lights this year and hear the familiar rhythm of the season, I am reminded through these characters to take the time to make a pivotal pause. I desire to spend time remembering the faithfulness of God to redeem the world. I want to teach my kids to rejoice in the birth of the promised one who brought joy amid sadness and light in the darkness.
Pausing takes practice before the jump. It takes listening to the Father and watching for the whispers of His assurances that we are not alone. This is the miracle of the Christmas season, and His promise to a world looking for hope.
Laura Sumpter is a native of the Pacific Northwest. She has been a teacher for over 20 years and she loves teaching children and women of all ages how to practically apply Scripture. She counts her husband and three children as the greatest blessings of her life. When she is not writing or teaching you can find her at the beach, in her garden, decorating her home, or playing with her family. Laura lives each day believing that God is faithful, no matter the circumstance. She desires to express the deep and satisfying hope that only Jesus can bring. You can find the lessons God is teaching her at her blog https://lauraesumpter.com/ or on Instagram.