Monday, December 22, 2008

Now the Birth of Jesus Was On This Wise

Matthew begins with the genealogy of Jesus, filled with less than perfect men and women, less than stellar kings. So filled with such imperfect specimens is this listing that the Holy Spirit then says: “Now the birth of Jesus was like this.” Or “On the contrary the birth of Jesus was like this.”

His birth was so very stellar and other-worldly compared to his lineage that there is no comparison at all.

The “players” in the drama are
Mary & Joseph
Zacharias and Elizabeth
The shepherds
The wise men
King Herod
Anna of Asher
Simeon of Judah
and the inn-keeper

Each had their mundane lives to live:
Mary & Joseph lived in a backwater town.
Zacharias and Elizabeth were at retirement age, having spent their whole lives in a non-
eventful and thankless job, and were childless
The shepherds were caught up in a monotonous and lonely routine.
The wise men – a few of many scholars – were wise by knowledge, but they had no real experience. They were insulated by their books.
King Herod was caught between Rome and the Jews. Not a real king, he was distrustful of everyone, and distrusted by everyone.
Anna & Simeon had spent a lifetime of waiting with only a thread of hope.
The inn-keeper was a little known businessman in a village whose only sense of importance was the claim to the birthplace of King David.

In a two-year period, each had an interesting encounter with God.
Zacharias stumbled into God’s presence.
Elizabeth and God used the same body.
The shepherds and God attended the same angelic concert.
The inn-keeper and God used the same stable to for their lambs.
The wise men and God were interested in the same star.
King Herod and God had designs on the same throne.
Anna and God inhabited the same temple waiting to give thanks and receive thanks.
Simeon and God anticipated the same Salvation for Israel.
Joseph and God had an eye for the same woman – and met in a dream to work it all out.
And Mary’s and God’s “fullness of time” occurred at the same time and in the same place.

And yet, each would have lived a life that was unknown and not-long-remembered by more than one or two others…except…
for the unseen,
cataclysmic events that were occurring

And what of your “mundane” life? And what of the worldly events happening all around you without your control? Could it be that God is doing something
and simultaneous with you?

Could I encourage you today to be an Anna or a Simeon? Could you commit yourself to waiting on God? staying in His presence? not giving up with the passing of time?

Could I encourage you to be a Mary and allow God to do impossible things with you? Could you be a Joseph and allow God to change the course of your life and future history?

Like Zacharias and Elizabeth, would you start life again at what the world considers the end and produce a greater blessing for God – and the world?

Like the shepherds, would you release your hands from this world’s busyness to bow before God in adoration?

Or like the wise men, would you allow God to re-chart your life and send you to unknown places to supply needed gifts for the King?

Today, no one thinks of these first century AD lives as mundane. Instead we wish we had been there. We dream of what it would be like to be one of them. We give God praise that each of them allowed God to invade their mundane-ness.

And we take hope and are encouraged that God is also using us in a very significant way. And He is!

“He that began a good work in you will continue it until the day of Christ.”

Have a very Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Eagles and Them What Watch

After breakfast this morning, we (Judy, my mother and me) decided to go see the eagles down on the river. At work the day before, one of the men showed me where to look for eagles there on the property (I work at the Port of Muskogee on the Arkansas River). So I brought my family there to see the eagles. We saw about 6 eagles, fairly up close, and were given quite a show of flying and swooping and touching the water, etc. (We need a camera with a greater zoom -- someday.) Here are a couple of pictures of the eagles at the Port. Remember, you can click on the picture to enlarge it.

There are two birds perched in the tree in the above picture, and one is flying in for a landing on the left side of the tree.

We had such a good time watching these birds, we pushed on over to Ft. Gibson lake, just below the dam. Though the birds were not as close, the scenery was fabulous and the weather was better than perfect. We saw 20 or so eagles, they just were not as close to us as the ones at the Port. Here I am breaking off some mistletoe to decorate in our house. I was determined to get some, and with the help of a fallen limb, I was able to break it off and work my way down the river bank to get it off the ground.

We found a road that went way up on the side of the mountain, and found a trail that worked out to a huge flat cliff that overlooked the dam, the lake, and the Neosho river if we turned the opposite way from the dam. We stood very high above the highway below us, actually almost hanging out over the road. The view was phenomenal! We saw many eagles making their way up and down the river, and many groups of geese making their way down the river.

This picture looks down the river below the dam. Wish all of you could go there and see the view first-hand. It just takes your breath away.

Just another pic of the dam and lake beyond without anyone in the way.

My mother was going to stay in the car, but the path was fairly negotiable, so I went back and encouraged her to come look. The path was level and only about the length from our driveway to our front porch (not much walking). Here in this picture the path turns downward, so I felt she shouldn't go any further. She was so glad I encouraged her to come. She could see the river, the dam, the lake and everything just as well as if she had made it down to the flat cliff rock (only another 20 feet). At 85 she is quite a trooper. The Parkinson's medicine works so very well, she is back to her old self. What a joy she is, too.

Last, but not least, the one who made the trip so enjoyable. This girl loves the outdoors and hiking and viewing and sightseeing, etc. And it is very nice hearing all the oohs and aahs she gives out. This spot has become one of our favorite places to visit.