Psalm 13:2 “I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.”
The week before Christmas is anything but a “still” time. We rush around madly in last minute preparations for gifts and feasts and parties. Those of us working in the church run around madly preparing for larger crowds and extra services and trying to find the fresh take on the old, old story. And then there’s me, leaving for the day and evening at 1:30 and realizing at 12:30 that I had forgotten to do SpiritWalkers!
So maybe that’s why the words of the Psalmist leapt off the page at me. How precious “stillness” seems at times like these. But the still and quiet soul David describes in the Psalm is not just a soul that is without activity. He is talking about a deep contentment with life. The verse before says, “I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.” And that is the King of Israel speaking! He is speaking the wisdom of the ages…the balm of simplicity…and he puts it in terms that foreshadow what the one to be called the “Son of David” would say a thousand years later about the relationship of children to the Kingdom of God. They get it.
David describes his contented soul as like that of a weaned child. It is not just the infant who is temporarily satisfied but will need its mother again soon. It is the infant who has grown a bit, and whose relationship to Mom has changed from “Feed me! Feed me!” to the simple joy of crawling into a loving lap and falling asleep. Mom has proven that she will provide, and the child is learning and growing in a safe, protected environment. Mother and child are content just being with each other.
It is the emotion evoked by many Madonna and Child portrayals…love, trust, rest, joy. King David has managed to find that as an adult by being humble, and taking joy in the simple things. No mad desire for the newest gadget or the bigger home…he has weaned himself from those needs, and it has stilled and quieted his soul.
I pray that sort of stillness for all of us this Christmas. It is a time that is as much about the Mother as it is about the Child. In the last weeks of his life, Jesus will compare himself to a mother hen, longing to take the people of Jerusalem under her wings. Jesus knew that contentment from Mary’s love. We can find it in Jesus…the simple one. The one who left the glories of heaven to come to an earthly stable and know the still and quiet soul of a weaned child with its mother.
Mothering God, may our restless souls be stilled and quieted in you. Amen.
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