Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Promise of Christmas

"Christmas is the promise that the God who came in history and who comes daily in mystery will one day come in glory.  God is saying in Jesus that in the end everything will be all right.  Nothing can harm you permanently, no suffering is irrevocable, no loss is lasting, no defeat is more than transitory, no disappointment is conclusive. Jesus did not deny the reality of suffering, discouragement, disappointment, frustration, and death; he simply stated that the Kingdom of God would conquer all these powers, that the Father's love is so expansive that no evil could possibly resist it."  Brennan Manning, Reflections for Ragamuffins

Iwetemlaykin_State_Park, Iwetemlaykin, Wallowa_Lake, Wallowa_County, Wallowa_Mts

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!  Isaiah 52:7

Friday, December 13, 2013

The prophet Isaiah gives us hope

There is so much joy to come; we live in this world, but we are not bound to it!

From Isaiah 35....

Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days.
    The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses.
 Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers
    and singing and joy!
The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon,
    as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon.
There the Lord will display his glory,
    the splendor of our God.


With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands,
    and encourage those who have weak knees.
 Say to those with fearful hearts,
    “Be strong, and do not fear,
He is coming to save you.”

And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind
    and unplug the ears of the deaf.
 The lame will leap like a deer,
    and those who cannot speak will sing for joy!


Springs will gush forth in the wilderness,
    and streams will water the wasteland.

The parched ground will become a pool,
    and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land.

Lake_Owyhee, Leslie_Gulch_OR

Midway_Geyser_Basin, Yellowstone

And a great road will go through that once deserted land.
    It will be named the Highway of Holiness.

 Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return.
    They will enter Jerusalem singing,
    crowned with everlasting joy.
Sorrow and mourning will disappear,
    and they will be filled with joy and gladness.
Alvord_Desert, Steens_Mt_OR

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Thrill of Hope

Each Christmas season I am deeply reminded that despite the weary repetitiveness of conflict--personal, political, economic, terror--hope renews me. God has so much more to teach me, to teach each of us, as we wait for Him, seek Him, follow Him.

Spray_Park, Mt_Rainer_NP