This is the season when we often pause to reflect on the past year, and make plans for the new year to come.
Wouldn’t you love to be better prepared, and know what God wants to say to you about next year? Well you can!
In this article we take inspiration from the Magi, and explore why it is vital that we listen to our night dreams during the holiday season.
A heavenly alignment
Some of you may have seen on the news that there was recently a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. This is the first time that this has happened, and been visible to the naked eye, for nearly 800 years.
Astronomers think that it could have been a conjunction such as this that the Magi saw around the time of Jesus’ birth: the famous ‘Star of Bethlehem’.
On 21st December 2020, just before Christmas, Jupiter and Saturn were at their closest point. They appeared to come together and shine as one bright star in the night sky.
The following article by BBC news explains this further: Christmas star: Jupiter and Saturn align in the night sky
A message behind the storm clouds?
Here in the UK, it was wet and cloudy on 21st December, so we could not see the planetary conjunction. But that does not mean that it didn’t happen. Behind the clouds, the planets dutifully continued their heavenly orbit, and the alignment happened.
The current world climate feels quite dark and ‘stormy’ too – a bit like the weather here!
But just like the planets continued to align behind the clouds, even when we couldn’t see them, I am firmly convinced that God is still working behind world events, even when we don’t see it! And He’s working in the lives of each one of us too. So if we’re listening, God will keep speaking!
Maybe the signs in the sky are sending us a message: Are we focusing on the storm around us? Or are we, like the Magi, tuning in to the voice of the One who is above it all?
I believe that it is vital for us to listen to God in this season!
God honours the dates and seasons
God has always used the times and seasons to speak to those who will listen.
In the bible we read about the Hebrew calendar: He spoke to Israel through annual feasts and monthly new moon celebrations, each with a particular purpose and significance.
To the Magi, He spoke through the night sky that they knew so well, and provided a ‘star’ to guide them when Jesus Christ was born.
Today, God often speaks through the commonly used Gregorian calendar, and through significant events in our culture.
God is a personal God, and He relates and speaks to us within the context of our own culture. So this means that God frequently uses our modern calendar to speak to us about the timing of His plans.
In the Southern Hemisphere both the school year and the calendar year start in January, so New Year is the main time for new beginnings. In the Northern Hemisphere our school year starts around September, but January is also significant: it is a chance to make course corrections and plan for the calendar year ahead.
I have found that God speaks to me with significant dreams around August/September and also in December/January. These are the times when he gives me a road map for the days ahead.
A time for listening to our dreams
Those of you who follow my blog regularly, will know that I believe God speaks to us all regularly through our night dreams.
At the end of December and the beginning of January I have proportionally more dreams that speak about the upcoming year: dreams that explain what is going to happen, and what my purpose will be in the months ahead.
I suggest that the same could be true for you, if you take the time to listen.
Here are some of the ways God typically speaks to me about the timings in the year ahead:
- Tomorrow: A year can be represented by a day. So If we dream of doing something ‘tomorrow’, it could well be telling us what’s coming up next year.
- Times of day can reflect the course of the year:
Morning = spring
Midday = summer
Evening = autumn/winter
- Specific times of day can represent the months:
2am = February (the second month)
10pm = October (the tenth month)
These are examples from my own dream journal, and relate to the seasons in the Northern Hemisphere. I’m sure that as you reflect on your own dreams, you will be able to work out how God speaks to you personally.
Why is now a good time to dream?
Many of us have time off work over the Christmas holidays. When we wake up naturally, rather than to an alarm clock, we are more likely to awaken straight after a dream and remember it. And we also have the time to write it down!
In my experience, the main challenge on those days is to actually get up and write the dream down! But it’s well worth it if we do.
When we switch off our alarm clocks, and allow ourselves to wake up naturally, we tend to remember our dreams better. And God makes the most of those times to speak!
Take inspiration from the Magi
The Magi obviously knew how to discern the times and seasons. They knew how to interpret signs in the sky, and they also knew how to hear God in their dreams.
And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. Matthew 2:12.
My encouragement to you over the holiday season is to pay attention to the ways God normally speaks to you! Specifically in relation to night dreams, I recommend the following:
- Take particular note of your dreams over Christmas and New Year.
- Use some of your time off to write them down and pray over them.
- Take particular note of dreams that are vivid, ones that wake you up in the night, and ones where you remember colours and details.
- Expect God to speak about the upcoming year, and the plans He has for you – and be ready for it!
Real dream examples
To demonstrate, here are two dreams that I had: one at the end of 2019, and one at the start of 2020.
I chose these dreams, because we can see what they meant in hindsight. I had a vague idea of the meaning when I dreamed them, but I didn’t know the specific details until the events happened. Then I understood.
Dream: Cloud over Windsor Castle
“I am in a church group, helping with the babies and children. I look out of the window. It looks like Windsor Castle, and I see a huge black cloud rising in the air behind the tower.
Then suddenly I see a load of Beefeaters fighting in front of the castle, in a battle. I run to the back room to get my rucksack. I tell people we need to get out of there and drive in the opposite direction. I have a baby in a carrier on my back.”
Windsor Castle is a residence of the royal family, representing the UK where I live. Beefeaters are the royal guards.
The black cloud represented something big that would affect the UK. At first it would just seem like a distant threat, but it would soon impact us.
The baby and children represented my responsibilities and interests at that time, indicating that those things would have to be put on hold for a while to avoid this threat.
We can see, with hindsight, that this was about Covid-19: an airborne threat, like the black cloud. God was preparing me, and advising me I would need to put some of my current activities aside during the coming year.
Dream: Climbing a mountain tomorrow
“I’m on holiday with a group of people, helping with some music. My friend is struggling to sing, so I talk about ‘praising in the storm’.
My husband says he is going to climb Mount Lichtenstein tomorrow. I wonder if I will be able to climb it, but I know he will be determined to do it – so I will go with him and enjoy the view. Suddenly the others are moving on. I’m trying to get my shoes on.”
The storm: I believe this was about Covid-19, the same as the cloud in the previous dream. Praising in the storm (and singing) was about finding my voice (in writing): although it would be a struggle at first, I would have a message to proclaim.
My husband represented God / Jesus as my husband. (See Meeting God in our dreams for an explanation).
The next day represented the coming year (2020), which would involve overcoming some sort of challenge (climbing a mountain) . A mountain is also an area of influence.
Mount Lichtenstein: The name means ‘light’, suggesting I should let my light shine so people can see. I had another dream which I already wrote about, called Covid-19, church and the media mountain which had the same message.
Trying to get my shoes on was the same as struggling to sing – this was a repeated theme, about finding it difficult to get started.
With hindsight I can see that this dream was expanding on what I should do during the coming Covid-19 pandemic. With all my regular duties on hold, I would overcome my fear of public writing. At the time of dreaming I wasn’t ready for this, but later on I would do it! (And you’re reading it now!!!).
The times that we are in are undoubtedly ‘stormy’. But God is still working and speaking behind it all. More than ever we need to be listening to Him, and we need to personally hear His word for ourselves.
I believe that God will be speaking through night dreams over Christmas and New Year to share His heart and seal our instruction for the coming year.
So will you make time to record and pray through your dreams?
I hope that you do!
Let us take inspiration from the Magi and be attentive to God’s voice during this season.
And I pray that you will be filled with the peace of Christ, with the hope of His calling, and with the joy of His presence during this season and in the coming year.