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The Light of Christ

20 Dec

An Advent piece I wrote in 2004.


Isaiah 9:1-2, Matthew 4:12


Let’s walk out and meet the morning.  It is an hour or more before dawn.  Wear lots of layers — it is cold outside. How dark it is!  We can distinguish the dark grey of the road, the black trees, the lumps of houses, and the midnight blue night sky — impenetrable save for the diamond stars.  Careful — stay on the road — without a light it is easy to stumble in the dark.  There are countless stars shining their feeble light like shiny bits of glass on dark velvet.  And up above us is the Milky Way.  The Incans thought it was the road to heaven. They did their best to find a path to God in the dark.


If we keep moving we will eventually warm up. You probably know that most ancient nations believed the sun was a god.  Many myths anticipate some aspect of Jesus’ coming.  The Aztecs thought only human blood sacrifice would keep the sun rising each day. The Incans chose special children to be messengers to the sun.  The Greeks have the story of Helios daily driving his chariot of the sun through the sky dragged by fiery horses.  Though his father tried to save him, Phaeton, Helios’ human son, wanted to be just like Dad and tried one day to drive the sun chariot.  The result was chaos and destruction for earth and death for Phaeton.  All peoples were walking in darkness, longing to know God.


Look– the eastern sky is becoming pale.  The dark and the stars fade.   Truth is stranger than any fiction.  From time’s beginning the Triune God planned the death of His only begotten son to bring mankind redemption through a new covenant.   Jesus stepped off His throne and came to us robed in flesh as a human baby.  The road to heaven is through Him–God’s messenger to mankind.  He came not as an equal to His Father, but as a servant, laying down his life. He fulfilled man’s longing.  The sky displays the majesty of a god coming: just above the horizon is a pale butterscotch; the clouds overlaying it are bright fuchsia and an incandescent orange.  All stories were swept away by the True Son’s coming just as the veil of night is swept away by the sun’s rising.  Jesus, the Great Light,  came to all who live in the land of the shadow of death.


Wow–Look at that sky!  Dark rose and pink now spread high up into the clouds in the eastern sky, and are reflected even in the west. A scarlet thread of light is seeping, bleeding across the dark horizon’s edge. Each dawn is a symbol of the mercy and forgiveness available to all through the blood of Christ. The sun shines on all people.  It gives light and heat even if hidden by stormy weather.  Just so, God’s redeeming love is available to all, regardless of circumstances.   Now we people of the Light prepare our hearts anew to celebrate the coming of our King of Light.  Let us shine His glory upon those around us who still walk in darkness and live in the shadow of death.  Dawn has come; God Himself came to be with us.  The sky is turning golden– here comes the great light once again.


The First Frost

6 Oct

Yesterday morning stepping outside  in the predawn was like stepping into a refrigerator.  There were still a few intrepid insects singing.  A couple early birds.  When the sun came up the crows, squirrels, chipmunks all started their morning calls.  We walked to within 100 yards of a buck feeding  on the corn left in the field.  For breakfast: my mother’s homemade blackberry jelly on home made toasted bread.

Yesterday during the day the east cornfield was harvested.  It was clear sky all day and into the evening.  I harvested the rest of the peppers and most of the tomatoes.  Jay covered the red raspberries with a tarp.  I cut dill.  And while doing so came upon the first (for us to see) Swallowtail larva of the year.

The dill plant with it attached was brought into the house.    The green-red blown hydrangea blossoms were picked and hung.

The Monkshood was just coming into bloom:

Easy to see where Aconitum got its common name, eh?

This morning was like standing in front of the open freezer. The grass and gardens were covered by thick white frost. No insects singing.  Birds were, though, in a frantic “Thank God for the sun” kind of way.  Geese were landing in the newly harvested field.  We walked fast.  How did the spiders work so quickly since the field was harvested yesterday to string innumerable filaments of fine silk down low to the ground amongst the stubble?  And what happened to the spider which had strung a heavy thread of tough silk right at head height on one corner of the field?

Sunday Breakfast Tale

2 Oct

Daren called this morning.  It rained off and on all night and into the morning.  Again.  But he was determined to go out turkey hunting so when he got up he glassed the alfalfa field across the road and saw a small flock of jakes grazing in the rain.

He got dressed and looked out the window just as he left to go downstairs.  The birds had crossed the road and were heading for the house.

He ran downstairs and got the gun ready, but before he got out the door, there they were, coming around the corner of the basement.  He fought with a door he does not usually use, eventually getting it open in time to shoot the last jak.

The turkeys had walked right in front of him, across the lawn, up the bank, and were entering the woods behind and beside the house.

We had buttermilk pancakes for breakfast.  I recommend them.   Honey cinnamon butter and hot maple syrup go well with them.  Nuke butter until soft but not melted, add honey and cinnamon until it tasted nice.  Put the syrup in a microwave-safe container before nuking.  Much easier than heating over the stove.

That is steam rising from them.  Hot off the griddle.

Buttermilk Pancakes

from my old Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, with changes, of course.  Pancake recipes make a batter that is too darn stiff and thick.  Adding more liquid results in nicer pancakes that cook better.  See above.

3/4 cup  each whole wheat and white flours

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 T. sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 beaten egg

1 cup buttermilk

2 T. oil

extra water or milk–1/3+ cup

Mix dry ingredients together.  I use a whisk.  Add the wet ingredients and mix until blended.  Add extra moisture until the batter is moderately thick but will run.  Bake on a hot griddle.  Makes enough for three or four.  Doubles easily.


It is now almost 9PM.  It is raining.  Again.  It rained this afternoon, also.

Fall Cometh on Wet, Cold Feet

12 Sep

with flowers and Monarch larvae.  A  variegated Physostegia, also called Obedient plant because supposedly it will stay where you carefully bend its stem in a bouquet.

A few Monarch larvae:


It has been in the high 4o’s F the past few mornings.  Jay told me it will only get in the high 60’s later this week. The flannel sheets are back on the beds.

The Sweet Autumn  Clematis and fall Cyclamen are both in bloom also.

Earl and Merle are weaning themselves.  They only wanted milk twice today, between 4 and six ml. apiece.  They each weighed about 150 grams this morning.  About 5 ounces. They are becoming more vocal.  And have personalities.   Jay made them a box.


10 Sep

The view from the South end of Mill Street was impressive, too.


Yesterday I found 16 Monarch Butterfly larvae on milkweed plants in the fields above the house.  This morning the count was 32.

And  noticed this up in the broken white spruce tree, our large ‘bonsai’.

Look at the apex of the lilac .

It is a sunflower.

A snipe flew out of the corn a couple mornings ago.

23 was the largest number of blossoms on the Morning Glories in one morning.

The rains battered the tomatoes.  They are on a definite downward autumn death spiral now.  And the Autumn Crocus are beginning to bloom.


9 Sep

For those in the know, this is Mill Street bridge.

And this was Mill Street:

Why not to build a house in a swamp:

This was after the water had receded a couple feet.


27 Aug

A couple early mornings have been still, hot, and humid.  On those mornings one can smell scents usually not available to the human nose.  Or at least my human nose.

On the house end of the hedge row there was the sharp acrid stink of a skunk.  Hmm.  This animal was scented down near the house a few nights, too.

The rank smell of some canine; fox? coyote? was up on the far end of the lane way, where piles of poop are occasionally left.

While walking two rows in on the north long edge of the corn field, holding up an arm to shield my face from  two corn leaf layers that are just at neck and head height, admiring the cathedral-like aspect and contemplating that at Hawthorne’s height it would be even more cathedral-like since the arches would not smack one in the face, I walked into a pool-like scent arena filled with the dusky smell of buck deer.  Had one or more been sleeping in the corn?  Or eating?  Or hiding?

Wednesday night was warm and still and clear when we arrived home from a meeting.  The stars in their myriads were bright in the blue-black sky.  The milky way, that highway of stars, was stretched in a curve across the vault of the sky.  Depths upon depths of stars were visible.

Later on, about 3.15AM, we were woken by a tremendous tearing explosion of thunder.  Outside it was still, not the faintest breeze stirred.  And warm.  But high above our earthly layer a big storm moved by fast, shattering the peace of the night, eventually dropping a quarter inch of rain.  The thunder and lightening went on for a good 45 minutes.  A slight breeze came up towards the end but by morning all was calm and warm and wet once again.

During that storm, Hawthorne needed attention.  Not only did the thunder upset him, he was vomiting.  Grass eating and vomiting continued until late Thursday.  He just will not stay away from the fallen corn the deer are pulling off.  Corn cob chunks can cause nasty obstructions in the intestinal tracts of dogs.  This afternoon he continues to lie down and sigh.  No food.  No water.  We have prayed for him.

Pounce slunk (is that the past participle of ‘to slink’?) upstairs and hid under our bed.

Now it is Saturday:  Thursday evening I started scoping out veterinarians who still do exploratory surgery on domestic pets without the extras many vets now think are warranted and which essentially treat the animal on the level of a human.  We do not fell at peace having a complete blood work-up, scans, and x-rays and, and, and…  Kept praying, asking for God’s mercy.

Friday morning Hawthorne was weak but went outside with me.  His urine was the color of dark buckwheat honey; scary, but there was no blood in it.  And then he slowly walked up into the field; the leading edge of his poop: a hunk of corncob with corn still attached.  He was lighter on his feet after that but after a walk and eating slept most of the day.  Thanks be to God!

Today he is himself.  We walk together now, with him on a leash until I can either buy or make a muzzle that will keep him and his beloved corn cobs apart.

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