L'Abri Journals...ACGray

December 2001
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Christmas Draws Near....

Chalet L'Abri

a page from my journal Dec. 5, 2001...acg

A huge flock of geese V-ed their way over the Massanutten again last week, reminding me that all was right with our world, whatever madness men might conjure.  We are nearing the end of this strangely warm autumn in the Shenandoah, but yesterday morning a magnificent white frost adorned our valley in advent of winter on our topside of the world.  (My friend Rosemary Johnson in Bluff, New Zealand reminded me in her letter that Christmas arrives in midsummer on her now topside of the world!)  But here at LAbri, the pellet stove awaits the first snow of the season and my thoughts go out to friends around the globe, remembering other times, other places, other Christmas seasons.  How blessed I am with warm memories and enduring friendships.  God Bless all who will receive this journal page. 

For me it takes only a reading of the greatest story ever from the King James Version of Dr. Lukes gospel to evoke the Christmas spirit in all its meaning and fullness.  I suspect that the same evils and fears in our world must have been there 2000 thousand years ago when our Lord Jesus was born.  I read the story again today from my Interpreters Bible along with this exposition from Walter Russell Bowie: 

"Yet the wonder and mystery of the Incarnation is precisely in the fact that those things were so.  For in the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, and all that the life of Jesus was afterwards to reveal, there is the message that not only is there a God, but that God comes very near.  To believe that God is above us is one thing.  To believe that God is a strength sufficient for us is another and still more inspiring confidence.  But to believe that God is not only almighty, that He is not only all-sufficient, but that He is God with us, God the near, the understanding and the intimate that is the best of all.  The eternal God coming down into human life, the meaning of the infinite entering into expression at a particular point in time, is a stupendous theme.  The world naturally would have expected to have it framed in some mighty portent, some shaking of the earth and skies, some focusing of the whole worlds attention upon this event which swiftly should dominate its age.  Instead, there is the stripping away of all of the worlds pride before the immense simplicity of God.  In this story of heavenly contrasts, where the humblest circumstances of our human life are lifted up into immortal poetry, the gospel of redemption is set forth.  God, who is the source and meaning of all life, reveals Himself in the little child coming unnoticed in the stable of the unregarded town.  It is as though the eternal holiness and beauty said: I will not let you think that in some rare place and privilege life will attain its ultimate fulfillment.  Here in this lowly place, here in the commonest environment, I came to dwell with you.  Here and not elsewhere is Emmanuel. " 

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39