Saturday, December 27, 2014

From My Nature Journal: "And the Shepherds Returned..."

(Not our photo!!!)
“And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard…”

I won’t keep you long today. Along with many of you, I am with family celebrating the season for the next several days: Gail and I came to Seattle last night, where we’re able to see three of our four kids and their families. But I realized after a busy week that tomorrow is my typical blog day.

So I’m thinking of Luke 2:20, the verse in italics above. I love this verse. Of course, it must have been quite a sky phenomenon the shepherds observed earlier that night. I’ve done a good bit of natural observation of the sky myself, but this one was supernatural, complete with herald angels announcing a paranormal birth and the very address where this special child could be found. And it ended with the announcement that this birth was not just for the shepherds’ benefit but for that of the entire world: “…and on the whole earth, peace to all those of good will.” So they went and found Jesus, and came back changed.

I confess: time and again I return from a
hike or saunter glorifying God for all I
have been able to see and hear…

What also strikes me is that this verse could also be the Christian naturalist’s manifesto. With the sincere hope that such an interpretation does not in any way trivialize the text, I truly confess: time and again I return from a hike or saunter glorifying God for all I have been able to see and hear. A favorite Celtic blessing I’ve often used includes the words: “…May God bring you back rejoicing at the wonders he has shown you.” That picks up the same theme.

As our week in the Northwest progresses, I will enjoy some walking among the spectacular trees we find here, far larger yet far younger than those we find in the arid mountain west, and will return from those jaunts rejoicing at God’s wonders. And after celebrating Christmas vigorously with most of my beloved progeny, next week I will return home doing as the shepherds, glorifying and praising God for all I have seen and heard.

Joyful Christmastide!

~~RGM, December 26, 2014

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