Best known for her works of fiction, author Madeleine L’Engle (1918–2007) was a devoted Christian who perceived God’s presence in all things and circumstances. Here she invites readers to join her awe-filled observations:
I look at the stars and wonder. How old is the universe? . . . All we know is that once upon a time or, rather, once before time, Christ called everything into being in a great breath of creativity—waters, land, green growing things, birds and beasts, and finally human creatures—the beginning, the genesis, not in ordinary Earth days; the Bible makes it quite clear that God’s time is different from our time. A thousand years for us is no more than the blink of an eye to God. But in God’s good time the universe came into being, opening up from a tiny flower of nothingness to great clouds of hydrogen gas to swirling galaxies. In God’s good time came solar systems and planets and ultimately this planet on which I stand on this autumn evening as the Earth makes its graceful dance around the sun. It takes one Earth day, one Earth night, to make a full turn, part of the intricate pattern of the universe. And God called it good, very good.
A sky full of God’s children! Each galaxy, each star, each living creature, every particle and sub-atomic particle of creation, we are all children of the Maker. From a sub-atomic particle with a life span of a few seconds, to a galaxy with a life span of billions of years, to us human creatures somewhere in the middle in size and age, we are . . . children of God, made in God’s image.
L’Engle honors the unique role that Jesus as Christ plays in creation:
Don’t try to explain the Incarnation to me! It is further from being explainable than the furthest star in the furthest galaxy. It is love, God’s limitless love enfleshing that love into the form of a human being, Jesus, the Christ, fully human and fully divine.
Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, Christ, the Maker of the universe or perhaps many universes, willingly and lovingly leaving all that power and coming to this poor, sin-filled planet to live with us for a few years to show us what we ought to be and could be. Christ came to us as Jesus of Nazareth, wholly human and wholly divine, to show us what it means to be made in God’s image. Jesus, as Paul reminds us, was the firstborn of many brethren [Romans 8:29].
I stand on the deck of my cottage, looking at a sky full of God’s children, knowing that I am one of many brethren, and sistren, too, and that Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.
Bathed in this love, I go into the cottage and to bed.
Madeleine L’Engle, Bright Evening Star: Mysteries of the Incarnation (Wheaton, IL: Harold Shaw Publishers, 1997), 9–11.
Explore Further. . .
- Read about the story of the universe.
- Learn more about this year’s theme Nothing Stands Alone.
- Meet the team behind the Daily Meditations.
Image credit: Zoe Schaffer, Seedling (detail), 2022, Pennsylvania, photograph, Unsplash. Markus Ilg, Austria (detail), 2020, Austria, photograph, Unsplash. Benjamin Yazza, Untitled 11 (detail), 2022, New Mexico, photograph, used with permission. Jenna Keiper & Leslye Colvin, 2022, triptych art, United States. Click here to enlarge image.
Image inspiration: The Christ in everything: nature, Advent candles and Scriptures, God in the cells of our hands.
Story from Our Community:
These are some thoughts I’ve compiled whilst sitting and watching the sun come up over [a] majestic, pristine landscape: This intensive, all-pervading consciousness of the presence of the Creator. Tranquility, but at the same time a feeling of tension—what’s out there? What forces will affect this little community—animals, weather? This is how religion began. A burning need to fit it all together, this beautiful circle of life—the grasses, forbs, trees, geology/ geomorphology, weather, climate, insects, reptiles, amphibians, mammals. As a human, the need to name and classify. How does the astronomy and our place in the galaxy influence all this—phases of the moon, closeness of Earth to the Sun? Privilege of being in this spiritually stimulating place and having a small ability to perceive God in me through God in everything around—the people, too. —Charles D.
Prayer for our community:
God, Lord of all creation, lover of life and of everything, please help us to love in our very small way what You love infinitely and everywhere. We thank You that we can offer just this one prayer and that will be more than enough, because in reality every thing and every one is connected, and nothing stands alone. To pray for one part is really to pray for the whole, and so we do. Help us each day to stand for love, for healing, for the good, for the diverse unity of the Body of Christ and all creation, because we know this is what You desire: as Jesus prayed, that all may be one. We offer our prayer together with all the holy names of God, we offer our prayer together with Christ, our Lord, Amen.