Starry Nite

The evening’s activities put me in mind of the event a year earlier. The tone both similar and worlds apart – a celebration of the start of the Christmas season, but this year without the aching heart and scratchy eyes of the day’s grief. As I walked away, the voices, amplified by microphones, echoed off the trees, the strains of the violin soaring above them.

I walked toward my car, alone in the deserted lot at the far end of campus. The tenor, the alto, and the violin together, haunting echoes of the originals, rode the chilly, crisp air: “O night, O Holy night, O night divine!”

And alone, I wept at the beauty of it all, that the Conqueror came in peace1, on a quiet, holy night, to be pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; to take upon Himself the chastisement that brought us peace, to turn our sorrow into joy and our mourning into dancing. The power of Death was undone by an Infant born of glory2.

1 Jason Gray. “Easier.” Christmas Stories: Repeat the Sounding Joy.
2 Andrew Peterson. “Gather ‘Round Ye Children, Come.” Behold the Lamb of God.

The 25 Days of December

The first 25 days of the month are over now, and the challenge to post a photo per day completed. I had a photo for each day, and only one was posted late.

So now it is done, and it accomplished my unspoken task. I caught the blogging itch again. I may not have a photo for each post, and I certainly won’t get them up daily, but I will be more regular with them, working to share my thoughts in this space, out there for all the world to see.
Please continue to read and continue to comment. Your words back to me confirm that my words were not just spoken into the void. As God-like as that would be, I’m fairly sure that this creation wouldn’t get the same result. No earth and sky, land and sea, plants and animals. So I look for your words, to know that I have created something.

Mystery


A child was born on Christmas Day
Born to save the world
But long before the world began
He knew His death was sure
The pain and strife secured

Mystery, how He came
To be a man
But greater still
How His death was in His plan
God predestined that His Son would die
And He still created man
Oh, what love is this
That His death was in His hands

The Christmas trees
They glow so bright
With presents all around
But Christmas brought
A tree of life
With blood that sacrificed
The greatest gift in life

Mystery, how He came
To be a man
But greater still
How His death was in His plan
God predestined that His Son would die
And He still created man
Oh, what love is this
That His death was in His hands

I am just a man and
Can?t begin to comprehend
When You look into this traitor?s eyes
What do You see that justifies the Lamb

God predestined that His
Son would die
And He still created man
Oh, what love is this
That His death was in His plan
Mystery, mystery


Music and Lyrics by Selah

Extravagance

“What Jesus said to [Mary in John 12], and those around Him as well including Judas, was ‘she has done a beautiful thing and wherever the Gospel is preached what she has done will be remembered.’ That is an amazing commendation for someone like me who tends to work from the heart, who tends to work with precious and costly materials. I remember that the extravagance of Christ’s love for me prompted an extravagant response. Eventually, I came to connect what I do as an artist with Mary’s devotional act. Maybe that is the one act we can look to as the centerpiece for a paradigm of creativity.”
~Makoto Fujimura

Men will grow in the oven.

A few weeks ago I needed to make cookies, and I had a hankering for gingerbread. And I also had molasses in the cupboard. And in the back of my brain was a memory that the best gingerbread cookies I’d ever had were from a Christmas recipe book that my uncle and aunt gave my mom for Christmas about 15 years ago.

So I called up my mom and described the book and the recipe I was looking for…the description went something like this: “It’s the one Uncle Paul and Aunt Elaine gave you one year. Sort-of country-ish? Christmassy, though. Yeah, and there’s a recipe in there. It’s either for molasses cookies or gingerbread cookies. I don’t remember what they’re called. Oh, gingerbread? Yeah, with molasses in the recipe. Yep, that’s them. Can you email me that recipe?”
I ran by the store and picked up a couple items I was missing and I came home to print off my mom’s email – and opened it, and read through, and began to laugh.
The final instructions read like this: “Add more flour if making gingerbread men. Cut them out and place them on the sheet. Men will grow in the oven.”
And my mom had added: “(yes the recipe says just that) 🙂 See if any men grow in YOUR oven.”
None did. Much as I tried. Instead, cookies came out. And they were a hit. A HUGE hit. All the college girls that ate them loved them. More than men.
I need cookies again this week. So I decided to see if men would grow in my oven again.
Still no men. But awfully good cookies.

Why He Came

For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

Crazy, Small-Town Parades

I thought that the small-town parade had been left behind me in Glennallen when I moved here from Alaska – really, who could compete with the shutting down of a main highway for 45 minutes at the height of tourist season so that the Electric Company and Parks Service can drive big trucks down the road and throw candy to the crowd.
But Newtown almost compares. There is a whole lot of character – and a bunch of characters, too.

December – and Photos

I haven’t done much photography of my own in the past couple of years. I sort of overdosed in AK, and then had to recover for a while. But this fall I’ve been taking more and more shots for work, and trying to get my artistic eye back in gear.

When I saw this referenced on my friend’s blog, I decided it would be a challenge, and would force me to write more, too, and I should take part. So here I am, posting my first series in The December Photo Project.
 

After a chilly, drab, day marked by torrential downpours of rain – very November-ish – I decided I needed to get back into the Christmas spirit with some shots of the tree:

 

Then I saw the olive wood nativity, and the ornaments, and found I needed to get a little closer.

December Photo Project