It sounded like a gun shot. And then another, and another. I thought war had broken out in Tulsa. Looking out our bedroom window we can see stripped and broken trees covering our yard. My beautiful trees are no more. All of our trees, save one, fell victim to the ice storm of 2007.
Amid the sounds of branches falling during the night, it also grew obvious to my husband and to me that our youngest son was not going to let us sleep until we rescued his rabbit. Oreo, lived in a hutch underneath what was our tall and beautiful Bradford pear in the back yard.
Grabbing the foot of our bed, our son became bound and determined to rouse us into greater empathy than parents usually possess at 3 am. Empathy not forthcoming, he chose to shake our bed violently and scream until we had no choice but to either put him down, or rescue the rabbit.
After some debate, we rescued the rabbit.
Wearing snow boots and bathrobes, the three of us ventured out into the icy night. I carried a candle for light, while Jeff and I carefully traversed the buried yard. Stepping over branches and around others we made our way to what used to be Oreo’s dwelling. Our tree, Oreo’s shelter, was stripped back like a banana peel. Carefully moving the bent and hanging branches, we found that not one fallen branch had touched her hutch. All of the branches had created a protective cave around her home. Oreo was unharmed. It was an amazing sight.
The consummate story collector, I wanted to go back for my camera but thought better of it. Instead, Jeff reached in to free a very grateful bunny and we made our way back to the house. The joy in our son’s eyes as he held his beloved pet made the whole adventure worth it.
It’s cold in Tulsa right now. Temperatures are below zero at night, and we’ve once again rescued our rabbit and brought her indoors for safety.
Another snow storm hit Tulsa this year and all Christmas services had been cancelled throughout the city. It just didn’t feel like Christmas without church and I missed it. Grace Lutheran was holding their Christmas Eve service on Epiphany. Grace is not our home church, but I wanted to go. I wanted to celebrate Christmas even if it was a few days late.
During the service they did what they call the “Procession of the Gospel.” I don’t recall ever seeing that before. It is very high church, and not necessarily something more “modern” churches like mine do anymore. Acolytes carried the cross and candles, while the pastor came down the center aisle with the bible. This processional stopped right next to our pew. It was there that the gospel was read.
Like a child, I relentlessly tugged on my husband’s sleeve asking what they were doing and why. High Liturgy is not something I’m familiar with. It was moving, and beautiful. The tears in his eyes caught me by surprise. “Immanuel. God with us.” is all he said.
By coming down into the crowd, so to speak, to read the Gospel, we are reminded that God himself traveled dangerous terrain to rescue us. We are reminded that He is not some distant and untouchable figure way out there. He doesn’t need a child to shake his bed to come get us. He just did. It was dangerous and it was scandalous. And it was necessary.
He is with us.
In the center of it all.
Again and again,
He is Immanuel.