Further Along My Passage

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Christmas 2014 National Cemetery Sarasota, Fl

“When men cease to be lost in wonder, love, and praise, they are in spiritual peril.  The most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the mystical.  It is the source of all true art and science.  He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.... To know that what is inpenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend – this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.  In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong in the ranks of devoutly religious men.”  Albert Einstein, quoted in Man’s First Love by Ralph W. Sockman.Christmas Bath

We turn the calendar page to the finale of another year and begin the rush of preparation for Christmas.  I have installed another hand crafted chalet on the bannister of my deck for my feathered friends, hoping that a pair of Carolina wrens will find a new home here; the door is designed for tiny birds.  Ergo, great expectation of the first snowfall setting the scene for the joy, wonder and welcome of visitors, no matter the species.

Crowding my thoughts in this rush to the Christmas season and year’s end is a beckoning for prayer that the season will be one of discovering a deeper knowledge of who God is.  These thoughts are prompted by Ralph Sockman’s book, Man’s First Love, coming to me more than a half-century after it was published, but profoundly getting my attention. His understanding of God’s love for His children is a benediction:

         “We agree with Pascal that we seek God because we have already found Him; that is, it is our experience of God which wants us to know Him more.  We should ever remember that the Bible interprets God as taking the initiative in His relations with man.  God is not an aloof Being waiting to be discovered.  Jesus taught that God is a Heavenly Father who seeks us as the father of the prodigal saw his son coming afar and went to meet him.  Hence, in preparing ourselves to pray, we are to make ourselves responsive to the God who is seeking us, so that we shall recognize His presence.   In praying, listening is preparatory to talking.  There is a word which appears scores of times in Scripture but is seldom heard in our conversation.  It is the word “hearken” which is a stronger word than listen.  To hearken is to listen intently with faculties alert... to listen not only intently but expectantly....How, then, do we prepare ourselves to seek God?  By remembering that He is a Father seeking us, by listening intently and expectantly for His approach....In Our Lord’s Prayer he taught us to begin, “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.”  Our first attitude in prayer is to hearken to God, keeping our thoughts focused on Him, and not looking too quickly to see what He is to do for us.  In preparing to pray, we should fasten our gaze on God until we do hallow His name and like the psalmist exclaim: “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is thy name in all the earth!”

Merry Christmas

 Vinete Adoremus Dominum

Merry Christmas Sunrise.jpg 

And when we give each other Christmas presents in His name, let us remember that He has given us the sun and moon and stars, the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans and all that lives and moves upon them....and to save us from all our sins, He came down to earth and gave us Himself.    Singred Undset, Nobel Prize in Literature-1928

 Christmas in Arizona.

Christmas Dinner

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by Him; and with Him was not any thing made that was made.  In Him was life; and the life was the light of me.  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not not.”  John 1:1-5