_ There was a sheep bleating at us in the woods.  You could hear it coming closer.  Baaa.  Baaa.  Baaaaaaaaaa!

The kids I was with weren’t used to early morning walks.  They weren’t used to the woods either.  Or the mist that shrouded the lowland by the river that we were hiking through.  They were inner city kids, most of them afraid of the woods, the majority of them had never seen deer before and most were quite certain there were bears hiding out there ready to eat them.  I love those kids.
_“Shhh!” I instructed them.  We all froze.  Their wide eyes told me that they could hear the sheep coming, too, and they didn’t know what to think.  I was grinning by then, though, because I had already figured it out.  It wasn’t a sheep.  It was something more magical than that.

We stood like statues and no one made a sound.  That was a first!  Then we saw movement in the fog.  When it appeared, it was as if it suddenly materialized out of the trees themselves.  A spotted fawn!   Baaaaaaaa!

We were frozen, awestruck that something so delicate, so precious, so young and innocent would come to us in this way.  The fawn pranced around us, looking us over, and came directly up to several individuals.  I swear she was conducting a survey.  Are you my mom?  How about you? 
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_I had never had a fawn approach me before.  I’d seen them in the woods, of course.  I’ve even seen them bedded down.  But this was incredible because she weaved between us without fear.  She jumped and skipped in ways only the very young seem to do.  She stayed long enough for all of us to see her and feel her magic. Then she vanished back into the forest.

The sense of wonder, the deep appreciation that comes from such a gift was overwhelming.  We were suddenly not the same people we had been only minutes before.   There were no words for this. 

That is how it is with Spirit.  It finds us when we are not looking for it at all, when we least expect it.  When it arrives it is like a beautifully wrapped package that startles us into wakefulness.  It leaves us blessed, humble and filled with gratitude. 

So for this holiday season, I pray that you may be given such a gift.  A moment where something simple and beautiful and delicate walks into your world and reminds you how precious all life is.  And may you also remember that you are that gift for others.  Thank you for your life.

 


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