Dec 13 2009

Joy to the World!

Bryce Canyon 802Today is the third Sunday in Advent and the theme for this particular Sunday each year is joy.  If one will pause to reflect on the meaning of this special season he or she cannot help but experience joy.  It truly is amazing that the One who created the world became part of it as a vulnerable little baby.  John 1:14 says “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”  A few verses earlier the Gospel writer says “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” (v. 3) 

I think a lot of people fail to understand that at Christmas we celebrate the birth of the Creator of the world.  Speaking of Jesus the apostle Paul said, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For by him all things were created…” (Colossians 1:15-16) 

Bryce Canyon 959I realize that during this season we usually focus on how God sent His Son into the world to provide for our salvation but we should also note the amazing fact that in that Bethlehem stable the Creator became a part of the world He created.  One of the implications of this for me is that because of the Incarnation we stand on “hallowed ground.”  The world is not just “good” as the author of Genesis reminds us; it is holy too.

One of the most popular Christmas carols is “Joy to the World.”  The song indicates that because Jesus came there is cause to rejoice.  In fact, the song exhorts “heaven and nature” to sing for joy at Christ’s coming.  During my trip this past week to southern Utah there were many times I felt like singing God’s praises for the gift of His Son.  There were even times when I looked at the incredible beauty of Christ’s Creation that it seemed like nature was ready to sing too.  And that is only fitting.  When we remember that Jesus is both the world’s Creator and Savior, why shouldn’t “heaven and nature sing”?


(The pictures above were taken this past week at Bryce Canyon National Park.)

Dec 6 2009

Going Back Again

Delicate ArchYesterday I flew west in order to do some photography in southern Utah.  I have been out to this area numerous times and really enjoy “red rock” country.  I’m traveling with a friend, Steve Ausmus, who has not been to this area before.  Even though it had been a very long day and my back was hurting me, we decided upon arriving in Moab that we would go into Arches National Park and hike to Delicate Arch for sunset.  The picture here is one I took last evening. 

This is the third time I’ve been at Delicate Arch for sunset.  Some might question why I would make the effort to hike the mile and a half to the arch having done it two times before.  My response would be that each time you go it’s different.  I’ve not been here before in December so it was nice to see snow on the La Sal mountains behind Delicate Arch.  But there are other reasons I return to places I’ve been before.  Hopefully each time I go back I’m a little better at my craft and can compose nicer images.  Furthermore, each time I go back I’m different.  I will not see things quite the same way I did five or ten years ago. 

Arches sandThere are people who visit an area and then check it off their list.  They have no intention of going back;  they’ve “been there, done that.”  This attitude seems foolish to me.  As much as I enjoy visiting new places I love to revisit old ones too.  My appreciation and understanding of those areas grow with each visit.   It’s not all that different from my experience with Scripture.  Each time I go back and read one of the books in the Bible I’ve read before I find new truth or meaning.  Why?  Because I’ve changed since the last time I read that passage or I find myself in new circumstances.  It would be crazy for me to say that since I’ve read the Book of Psalms I’ll not read it anymore. 

 Try to avoid the “been there, done that” mentality.  In God’s Creation there are blessings that can come only by making repeated visits to places you have been before.


(The bottom picture I took this evening in Arches National Park near the Fiery Furnace area.)