“In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.” Mark 1:35
I crave the peace of early mornings. The silence is almost physical – a soft and welcome assault on my ears. I was never a morning person, but with three children, mornings have become my refuge. Sometimes I am productive, busily putting things in order, finishing leftover chores and making breakfast before anyone is awake to distract me. Sometimes I am contemplative, praying and listening for God in the quiet. Sometimes I am blessedly unproductive, resting in the stillness before the day requires anything of me.
This morning we were out of coffee (an unacceptable state of affairs in our house) so I walked to the corner store to get some before my husband had to leave for work. It was 14 degrees out and mostly dark. The trees were empty, the space between them just barely stained sunrise pink. The world’s first faint sounds stirred as it prepared to wake.
The early morning has always felt holy to me. It feels like the dark before creation, the breath of God hovering, waiting to call everything into existence. Or the Resurrection morning: “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed.” (John 20:1) Can you imagine the sorrow she felt in the darkness, and the deep, solemn joy that was already stirring, unknown to her, waiting for daybreak? As the psalmist says in one of the most beautiful phrases in the Bible, “Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”
I wish I could say I get up early every morning. The truth is I hit my snooze button until the last minute just as often. But when I do get up, I am reminded why those hours before dawn are so precious, so holy. God waits for me, there in the darkness, the joy and light the day offers as yet unknown to me, but not to Him.