Did Jesus dream?
Yes. While sleeping, images, sensations, and thoughts occur in the minds of humans, and Jesus was fully human. We know that He slept and He woke and He needed to sleep again, as all human beings do. Conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary, the Word of God was made flesh — which means that the Son of God assumed the limitations and survival requirements of the flesh.
We need sleep. Jesus Christ needed sleep. Our brains process the myriad perceptions and experiences of a day while slumbering in the night. Christ’s brain also processed what He saw, heard, smelled, tasted, touched, and felt while awake through the dreams of His sleeping, and, like all of us, this process began before He was even born. Did you know that Rapid Eye Movement (REM), which is associated with the dream state of sleeping, has been detected in fetal humans 8-12 weeks before birth? We can only imagine what Jesus dreamt when He was still in the womb of His mother, as His little, developing brain — like ours — received and processed the filtered and muffled sensations of the watery world in utero.
We know, however, what Jesus dreamt of in that hoping-for way that we can also mean by the word dreaming. Christ — fully human and fully divine — dreamt of peace. True peace. As the angels declared at His birth: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to people of goodwill.” (Luke 2:14)
The prophet Isaiah foresaw this peace in God’s paradise:
Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat;
The calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
together their young shall lie down;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
The baby shall play by the viper’s den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.
They shall not harm or destroy on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD,
as water covers the sea.[i]
Faith in the Lord yields this kind of peace in the heart. The passions that may be at war within us, the sinfulness, grudges, and fears of our lives are healed, tamed, and at peace when we accept and receive the love of God in the flesh. Jesus told His disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” [ii]
This is what Jesus desired for each and every one of us, what He lived for and what He died for — true peace. In His birth, there is born within us the sacred wonder of God’s love for all humankind. In His rising from the dead, there arises within us the hope of eternal forgiveness and redemption, of life without end in God’s kingdom of divine love.
A prayer for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, while lighting the Angels’ Candle, symbolizing peace:
Lord Jesus, may we always think of You, may our minds be saturated with Your love, permeating our thoughts and our dreams. Help us to desire what You desire, to forgive as You forgive, and to love as You love, willing to live and die for Your kingdom. Grant us Your peace in our minds, hearts, homes, communities, and nation. Grant us true peace that does not seek rest from labor but rather faith that the fruit of our work will be for Your glory, for the peace that never ends.
© 2019 Christina Chase
[i] Isaiah 11:6-9
[ii] John 14:27
Although crippled by disease, I am fully alive in love. I write about the profound wonder and terrible beauty of life while living with physical disability and severe dependency. Unafraid to ask life's big questions, I was briefly an atheist and considered other religions before finding, in God's choice to intimately share our humanity, what it truly means to be fully human. A revert to the Catholic Faith, I blog weekly and have written a book called It's Good to Be Here.