On this evening I found myself in pleasant company leaving work…the three people I said farewell to are headed the same place I am in a few minutes…to church. I felt warm in knowing, contrary to popular culture, that some people out there still believe the evening is about more than a simple drinking fest..it is about thanking God for another tour around the sun!
Today’s scripture reading in the Divine Office from Colossians 2:4-15 hits that point on the nose: “See to it that no one deceives you through any empty, seductive philosophy that follows mere human traditions, a philosophy based on cosmic powers rather than on Christ.” It is to God that we owe thanks…not the maker of Miller, Jack Daniels, or whatever else there is.
The homily by St Leo the Great reminded us, “For every believer regenerated in Christ, no matter in what part of the whole world he may be, breaks with that ancient way of life that derives from original sin, and by rebirth is transformed into a new man. Henceforth he is reckoned to be of the stock, not of this earthly father, but of Christ, who became Son of Man precisely that men could become sons of God; for unless in humility he had come down to us , none of us by our own merits could ever go up to him.”
I’m not implying we need to forgo a nice glass of wine, but we need to forgo the culture and philosophy of worshiping those earthly things for the sake of themselves. In many ways, abuse of anything takes our eyes off the prize. It could be internet addiction, money, sports, you name it…anything pulling too hard will hurt our time we should rather be spending to build up the kingdom of God. Just watch a few minutes of commercials during a bowl game or the parties tonight and you’ll see what I mean in spades!
So there is my resolution. Get control of things that distract and get God put back in charge.
I hope you have a noble resolution as well!
Happy New Years Eve!
From a Child’s Eye
A great photographer I met once, and listened to often, Scott Bourne once said to explore the world creatively you need to see the world from the mind of a five year old. Well I’ve been doing that with my now six year old. Today I reviewed photos he took over the last four months on my old Canon P&S. My wife mentioned several times he imitates me when he shoots…he was actually doing quite well! He does video much better than I do! Well in his photos I did see the sense of wonder I often miss as I get older.
So tonight I set the tripod up and looked at the tree from the level of my two year old. I just fell into the wonderful world of bliss. I saw the lights, the shiny ornaments, the dark spots, the smiles on faces, the tassels and beads. It was fun. It was like my first memories of Christmas growing up…and when I made up the HDR images I just had to capture the feeling of the moment of when I can remember looking at my family Christmas tree a the age of four or five at Fort Devens, Massachusetts in 1974 or 75.
Then I thought about the most important part of the evening…the arrival of Jesus. A hundred thoughts started running through my mind. I can see so much of the story rushing together, and my mind is just too slow to understand or explain it right now. I turned my lens on the family nativity scene, and turned of the lights. I felt a peace come over me as I worked the light and tried a few different angles. I began to reflect, that on a night like tonight I don’t think Jesus wants us to think too deeply. He wants us to look at his arrival like a child who can feel something special in the air, and now that in the darkness of the night a child was born who gives peace to our souls if we but choose to listen for the sound of his voice.
P.S. Fujifilm X-E1. These are HDR processed in HDR Efex Pro 2..the second one got a touch up in Perfect Suite 8.
Away in a manger from a child’s eye…
So what does a farmer do when a baby lamb loses its mother hours after it birth? My second son’s Godparents recently had this occur on their farm. A ewe carried her 10th lamb to term, and died shortly after the birth. If the lamb existed in the wild, it would simply be left to fend for itself immediately. No other ewe will care for it, preferring instead by instinct to care for its own offspring.
This farming family instead will feed the lamb ewe by hand until it can fend for itself. Extra work yes, but it is an example of proper stewardship of the world we live in. These Godparents let nothing go to waste if they have any say in it. I find it is also a little example of following the wisdom of God, and an example of what we saw from Christ. We are all fallen creatures, even if we have good genes we are all still flawed. Despite this problem of ours, he for came into the world as a child, and grew to become a man…the perfect sacrifice and example for us to follow so we too could be with him in heaven.
So as you prepare for the arrival of Christ tonight…remember that as hard as it is to fathom…he calls us to follow his example in largest, smallest and everything I between parts of our life.
P.S. Fujifilm X-E1 with the 18-55
A simple street scene in Roswell, Georgia
A few weeks ago I was able to walk around town and snap some images on a cold November morning. Our town works hard to create an old city center worthy of visiting, and the business owners do their part to make it inviting.
In these final days of preparation for Christmas, don’t forget the reason for the season of advent (and it has nothing to do with present lists or parties). Do your best to ignore the last minute sale emails ,and focus on getting your heart ready for the arrival of our Lord! Take a walk, dodge raindrops, and look at your fellow man for all the reasons he came to die for us! Then ask yourself…have I made a home inside of me for him? Have I risen to the challenge? When I failed did I beg forgiveness and make amends?
Ok…time for me to get ready for church myself and get my own head in the right place!
PS-Fujifilm X-E1 with 18-55mm. Cropped in camera using the square framing option. It is fun to see the world in different framing formats than the standard 2×3. It think it really allows you to do some extra mental calculus, and come closer to making the final product in your camera. If you spend less time behind the computer the better off you are!