Saturday, December 25, 2004

Christmas in the Desert 2004

Friday, Christmas Eve, as I flew into Tucson and into another southwestern sunset, the desert displayed to me its breathtakingly barren, apparently bleak magnificence for what felt like the thousandth time. Despite the Nativity-tides I've spent in the snowy climates of New England and the Intermountain West and notwithstanding representations of snowy if not actually snowbound states of nature generally being considered most illustrative of Christmas, for me the fullness of the reality of God's incarnation as a human alive in human history becomes most poignant among the palms, sands, rocks, cliffs, cacti, aloes and agaves (Partial list of local plants: barrel cacti, chollas, desert broom, Joshua trees, mesquite, ocotillo, palo verde, prickly pear cactus, saguaro...), the reality of God-among-us all the time no matter what, remains most self-evident in the fire of a desert sunset, in the budding dawn and incipient day the desert sunrise promises. [why? I’ll leave my readers thinking and guessing, though my essential theology gives you a major clue] And somehow remembering Jesus' birth in the Arizona desert is very different from recalling Jesus' Birth in the coastal desert of San Diego, where I've been spent more than a few wintertimes.

At Patti and Floyd's place way outside the Tucson city limits, our dinner for the big yearly gala was amazing! The buffet included chips and dips, a plethora of flavorsome and savory Mexican menu items (tacos, tostadas, flautas—or were they taquitos?—tamales, red chile, green chile, guacamole, refritos, arroz…as well as several sweet flavorfuls: giant cookies, chocolate layer cake, vanilla ice cream and homemade flan). Now Christmas Day evening has arrived; sundown's here again and we're ready to enjoy traditional turkey while the 7 (seven!) Husky, almost-Husky and Husky-look-alikes (Blues, Copper Queen, Denali, Easter Angel, Nanook, Nikki and Spirit of 2004) lounge around enjoying and protecting their gift toys and treats. Meanwhile, the evening news just announced it snowed today in Corpus Christi, TX, for the first time in over a century!

A most blessed Feast of the Nativity to all my readers and to God's entire beloved creation, reborn and redeemed in Christ Jesus!

Monday, December 06, 2004

All Who Love and Serve Your City

1. All who love and serve your city,
all who bear its daily stress,
all who cry for peace and justice,
all who curse and all who bless,

2. In your day of loss and sorrow,
in your day of helpless strife,
honor, peace, and love retreating,
seek the Lord, who is your life.

3. In your day of wrath and plenty,
wasted work and wasted play,
call to mind the word of Jesus,
"I must work while it is day."

4. For all days are days of judgment,
and the Lord is waiting still,
drawing near a world that spurns him,
offering peace from Calvary's hill.

5. Risen Lord! shall yet the city
be the city of despair?
Come today, our Judge, our Glory;
be its name, "The Lord is there!"

* Words: Erik Routley
* © 1969 by Stainer & Bell Ltd. (admin. by Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream, IL 60188).
* All rights reserved.

* Music: Birabus by Peter Cutts
* ©' 1969 by Stainer & Bell Ltd. (admin. by Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream, IL 60188).
* All rights reserved.

* Other tunes: Charlestown, Dominion-Chalmers, Marching, Omni die
* Meter: 87 87