There’s been a lot of talk about the weather these days. From the west coast to the east and everywhere in between it’s been weather! weather! weather!
Realizing there’s nothing I can do about it, today, I decided rather than talk about the weather it was time to explore some of the effects of the weather.
So, on this very cold, sunny, cloudless day, with a nearby creek swollen by recent rains, I risked frozen fingers to try the ‘five shot’ challenge. Could I take five photos worthy of posting in the blog?
The trail I walk on just about every morning is a mostly flat meandering path following a creek. There are woods, fields and marshes that change with the seasons. Today’s flowers are different from a month ago. Yet day by day things pretty much remain the same.
Sometimes unexpected things come along that surprise and delight. Like this morning. I was walking along, turning a corner that bends the path into a swampy area, when I met this curious traveler.
We stood facing each other for a few minutes, long enough for me to get out my phone and snap a few pictures. Delightful.
Today, I turned a corner that I’ve walked hundreds of times seeing the same scene almost every time, until today. A surprise. A gift. And then more.
So it is with life. We travel in our day-to-day routines. We work. We play. We struggle. We enjoy. We fret.
We worry about what’s next, what’s around the next corner. It’s impossible to tell. Yet the One who created fawns and flowers walks with us as we travel our straight and crooked paths. He tells us there’s no need to worry.
So today, praise God who has all our corners, beginning to end, in view. Praise the one who reminds us “Do not be afraid… you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1 Today’s gift.
My walk was about to end. Thankfully so. For over an hour, the morning’s brisk air poked at my cold, rosy cheeks and as I wandered along the path, I wondered, “What am I doing here?” Brrrr…
My car waiting in the parking lot offered the promise of warmth. The end was in sight. But, then, I stopped. A flurry of activity caught my eye. In the middle of a scrubby bit of brush that was all twigs and a few berries clinging to bare branches there were … Robins!
Really? Robins in Michigan, in January? In the middle of a short burst of snowflakes, a half dozen robins, feathers fluffed to insulate against the winter cold, plucked frozen berries from the branches for their breakfast.
Robins! Imagine that! I thought I had seen my last robin months ago. Yet there they were in the middle of January, no less. Is spring just around the corner? Why did they come back so soon?
Then I realized that they never left. Even though I missed them and thought they were gone, they’ve been around all along.
What was I doing here? Without realizing, walking this path, I was opening myself up to the delights of God’s world. In spite of the blustery January morning, this week’s unexpected delight came in the form of ones who were gone, at least in my mind, yet never left. Today’s delightful gift.
Now I’m not going to get into a whole big astronomical ‘thing’ about the what, when, where and why of the star that led the magi to Jesus. I’ll leave that to others. Whether it was a one-time miraculous stellar event or the result of eons of God’s precise planning that brought planets and stars together, I’m not here to say.
I believe that the creator of all things, in his divine wisdom, wanted to get the attention of ancient scholars, sky gazers from the east. He wanted to introduce them to the child King of Kings and Lord of Lords. So in the fullness of time this celestial event took place and motivated these magi to travel to find Jesus. And they did. And they brought him gifts and they worshipped him.
So why am I bringing this up so many days before Epiphany, January 6, when all of this is usually celebrated? You see, one of the ideas about the ‘star’ is that there was a conjunction of planets and/or a bright star. When they all came together the result was a remarkably bright object in the sky which caught the attention of these night sky observers. Again, why am I bringing this up?
It just so happens that in a few days, December 21, 2020, to be precise, there will be a conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter, just before sunset, in the southwest sky. The two bright planets, ‘wanderers’ as they were called back then, will come together and appear as one really bright object. It should be quite a sight if you are favored with clear skies, an unobstructed view and catch it at the right time.
Now I’m not suggesting that after seeing this conjunction that you hop on the nearest camel and head to Bethlehem and look for Jesus. However, it just might be a good time to give some credit to God the creator for the gift of his remarkable world.
Oh, and as for looking for Jesus… he’s not that far away. He’s called Immanuel, God with us, after all. Today’s gift, to be sure!
Back in September I flippantly reported on seeing the last robin of the year. Chagrined, I’m here to say that since then I’ve seen several more of them that seem to have missed their southbound flight.
So, today, Saturday, November 28, I believe I saw the last one… again… for real. I was at the end of my walk and there perched Mr. Robin red-breast in a berry laden bunch of shrubbery, perhaps eating one last Michigan meal before heading south. It’s almost December! We’ve had snow here already! For Pete sake, it’s time to go! And I’m sure it will soon be winging to warmer climes and worm-filled unfrozen turf. If not, I’ll be sure to let you know.
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:26.