As a gift from some dear friends, I had the privilege of spending the night in a castle while visiting Colorado last month. It was a gift in more ways than I imagined.
As of late, life has been quite full. Full of challenges from relationships to issues around the world that impact me personally. I have been running and running hard. The usual rhythms that sustain me were showing otherwise. I was tired, spent and needed deep rest. This gift was not only a practical one, but became a spiritual and emotional one as well.
Glen Eyrie Castle was built by General Palmer in the early 1900’s as gift for his wife, “Queen”. For all you history buffs, I encourage you to Google the name of the castle and see what great history you will be able to uncover.
This castle has been converted into a spiritual retreat center, a home to some Christian ministries, a coffee shop and bookstore. A section of the castle used to be the stable where General Palmer kept and cared for his horses.
The room that I stayed in had a view of the stable which, only for a moment made me think that I was in a barn. But this was no barn. It was a plush room in a castle, fit for a princess. This haggard princess took to the surroundings quickly. Fluffy pillows and all.
I nestled in for the evening.
Perhaps to the disappointment to some, I didn’t hike the gorgeous trails around the castle that were set in a deep canyon and not visible from the main road. I didn’t go and check out General Palmer’s grave site or venture out into the thin fresh air of Colorado Springs. I didn’t take in the breathtaking views from some mountain tops surrounding the castle.
You see, I was prompted by a voice, which I believe was the Holy Spirit, and was told to rest. There was to be no more running. No more adventure. No more activity. Just rest. Kind of like a horse being put in a stable. There was to be no more horsing around. I was to stay in the confines of this room, curl up in my bed and stay the night. I obeyed.
Yes, there were breathtaking views all around and trails to adventure on and experience while in Colorado. But I needed rest. Rest for my mind, my heart, my soul and my feet. I needed to completely stop. It took me a long time but over the years I have truly learned to not resist a rest.
And then there is the stable.
I needed some stability from all the storms around me. I needed to remember to embrace “stable” places in my life. This night, I needed the confines of four walls. I was fed, shielded from the blowing winds from the mountains, and silenced in my heart of hearts.
Then it happened…
I was reminded about another stable that was in a barn where a baby lay in a manger over two thousand years ago, Christians call it the Christmas story. It was no ordinary baby because the power, glory, and royalty He embodied for being the “King of kings” and “Lord of lords”, was a stark difference to the surroundings in which He lay. As we approach the season of advent we anticipate His arrival, His birth, His glory, and His presence. He is Emmanuel, God with us. (as I edit this, we are a week away from celebrating Jesus’ birthday!!)
That night, as I curled up in my manger, I pondered a few things.
I pondered the stable and thanked God for His protection and shelter in my life – especially that night, my “stable” was warm, cozy, inviting, and rich in every way.
I pondered my manger. It had fluffy pillows and a heavy comforter. I felt blessed beyond words. But despite this gift of comfort, the fact was that my heart was full of chaos, confusion, frustrations, and extreme fatigue.
I pondered the manger Jesus rested in from the turmoil and chaos of His day. On “that” night, His stable was dirty, stinky, crowded and noisy. I can imagine that it might have even been itchy from the straw that lined his bed, which was a feeding trough made into a bed for the Prince of Peace.
As a follower of Jesus, Colossians 3:3 reminds me that “I am hidden with Christ in God”. I have access to that Peace because that same Christ lives in me.
Over these past few weeks of Advent, I have pondered and wondered more about Mary. Wondering what Mary might have been thinking throughout all of this? What did she ponder in her heart about this baby that was to be born? One that had already been given a name and an identity.
Luke 2:19 tells us, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart”. In Matthew 1 we read, “…because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit”.
It led me to wonder if God might be birthing something in me during this season. I linger in these thoughts about the manger not only because I crave His Peace but because I don’t want to miss His message for me.
Jesus came as a baby and died as a man. In a few short months, we will be pondering His death on a Cross for our sin and His resurrection.
How will you respond then?
That night in the castle, I realized, that this princess got to spend the night in a castle with her King, her Abba, Father. Priceless. (tweeted)
“The manger at Christmas means that, if you live like Jesus, there won’t be room for you in a lot of inns.” ~~Timothy Keller
How “stable” is your journey right now? Where do you go? Where do you rest?
Take a personal inventory of your life right now. Is it time to stop horsing around and get down to business with Jesus?
How is the Holy Spirit leading you to your place of rest?
What might the Holy Spirit be birthing in your heart/story in this season?
Merry Christmas to you all and may you have a Jesus-filled New Year!!
Thank you for joining me on my journey.