Rise and Shine; seems to be a phrase for morning people…
I for one was not always a morning person…but my dad was.
And every day he would struggle with me and my brother in particular, to get us up; especially on Sunday Mornings.
I have noticed over the years many of these same patterns persist a generation later as Marcy has almost the exact same struggles getting our boys up as well.
And it got me wondering…why do some kids get up no problem and others do not? Now I am sure it is simply some people are morning people and others are not.
For example My Dachshund, Brody, is a morning person…unless it’s really cold in the house, 6:30 AM and he is up and running and no one sleeps beyond that until he is piddled and fed; He has definitely trained us, in brutal fashion, not to ignore his morning constitutional needs.
But the rest of us, were it not for Brody, could sleep in with no problems at all.
I also know other people that are up and running at the break of dawn, no matter the day, they are simply ready to get going.
And I wonder in some cases if it has to do with their station in life, and what they have to get up for?
Now teenagers it just makes sense to me that they sleep in whenever they can. After all they have a lot going on and expend a lot more energy than most of us do.
I actually believe they should be allowed to sleep in later and go to school later like the Middle School Students do; just reverse the school times for them and it would be more conducive to both age groups’ need for rest.
And I realize that most teenagers, if it were not for school or something we get them up for, just don’t need to be awake early, because nothing that matters to them happens early in the morning!
On the other hand, most adults are up because we either have jobs that pay, or coffee and breakfast with friends, or a like a neighbor I had in Memphis used to tell me; she always got out of bed because she knew the paper was waiting for her on the doorstep.
Now the two latter reasons for getting up may seem trivial to most of us, but for others…it is truly a big deal…and that’s great because it does set the tone for their day and they are doing something.
I am always amazed at the readiness of a child in the early morning when it’s time for Disney, or Christmas or to go Grandma and Grandpa’s. But you try to roust that same kid for school on Monday or Church on Sunday….unless they really love Sunday school; that readiness is rarely the same.
In other words, they are ready to rise and shine, because there is something worth getting up for that matters to them!
Now there is one last category of the sleeper inner, that none of this logic applies too, and if you know this type of sleeper, you know what I mean.
This is the one who can sleep though a freight train coming through the bedroom. They just don’t get up for anything, it’s like they are dead!
My buddies in the army said that I slept like that, once I was actually asleep. “Kappel!” they would exclaim. “Man when you are asleep, it’s like you are in a coffin!” They claimed I even held my arms across my chest like that. Now I wouldn’t know I was asleep.
Plus apparently I sleep though things at night that wake up my family. Thunderstorms, neighbors screaming at each other and even Propane Plants exploding in Astatula!
The worst I ever heard of was a friend of mine’s adult daughter, who couldn’t get up for an alarm clock or even for the bathroom. And she was a church organist! I can’t imagine what she eventually did to correct it, but he swore getting her out of bed was like waking the dead!
Today in our Prophecy of Isaiah, He uses the very same word for arise that Jesus himself used when he raised the little girl from the dead in Mark 5, “Talitha (little girl) cumi (Arise).
Isaiah gives us an Epiphany Prophecy that tells us what is worth getting up for.
And this prophecy shows us that what God brought us in Christmas will be enough to wake even the dead!
Isaiah is one of the rare prophesies that emphasizes light, that gets everyone up!
One of the boys in my former congregation told me that he loved the new hurricane shutters his parents put on the house.
His shutters were so thick that when they were rolled down over his bedroom window, even in the middle of the day his room would be dark and he could sleep way later than usual.
I got a real kick out of that and was laughing about it with his mom. She told me the only way to get him up in the morning was roll the shutter up because he simply could sleep with the Sunrise beaming directly in his room.
Isaiah is letting everyone know that even if you wanted to live as though you were dead, in this world the light of Christ is gonna light you up!
And He Did! He even lit up the magi of the east who saw His light in the stars, and came to pay homage to this king of the universe revealed.
As Isaiah said they would, they brought the Gold and Frankincense, gifts befitting a universal king for all.
This is the Revelation, the Manifestation, the Appearing and the Epiphany of Our God.
This is worth getting up for and will raise the dead.
But this is not the only time God will reveal himself in the flesh.
Time after time through our lectionary we will see affirmations of who Jesus really was in our account of His life.
He will appear again at His Circumcism to fulfill the law laid down by His eternal Father in Heaven, only unlike us; He will continue to keep it perfectly.
His deity will be manifest as he performs miracles to heal the unhealable and like the little girl even raise the dead.
And he will reveal an empty tomb after his crucifixion that will reveal His ultimate power over death on that first Easter Resurrection Sunday.
This is why every nation on the earth knows this baby Jesus we celebrated this Christmas, because he is their light in a dark world that gives them hope for eternal life after death as well.
So Rise and Shine, give God the Glory, children of the world. He is your light, He is your salvation, He is an Epiphany of epic proportions for you. AMEN.