Follow the star!

Over the Thanksgiving holiday I was fortunate to view the presentation the Mystery of the Christmas Star at the Burke Baker Planetarium located in the Houston Museum of Natural Science. It presented the Christmas story very beautifully and factually, referencing scripture to tell the story. Centuries before the time of Christ’s birth the patterns of the sun, moon and stars were well understood and accurate records were kept by observers in different parts of the world. After discussing the possibilities that the star was a comet or super nova it presented the most logical conclusion that the Magi had observed the close convergence of Jupiter and Saturn that occurred around 7 B.C. As the planets travelled on their path they would appear to be very close together several times during this period.

The story of the Magi, or wise men, appears only in the Gospel of Matthew. It is simply related in the first 15 verses of Chapter 2, giving us just enough details to convey the story. There is mystery and intrigue surrounding the Magi, or wise men, who saw something so unusual in the night sky that they knew it was a very important sign of a new King of the Jews (v.2). But what did they see in the sky? The star is just as mysterious as the Magi!

Whatever the star may have been it was significant and should not be overlooked in its role in the story. From high above it appeared and the Magi saw and understood and obeyed its summons to journey to see the new king. As we enter this second week of Advent, like the Magi let us also follow the star to see the Christ Child. Believe and you will find, just follow the star!

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Simply southern

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I’ve always thought a simple, green wreath with a red bow displayed on a window had to be the most elegant of decorations.  Throughout the south you see windows adorned accordingly, but not so much in south Texas.  Finally this year I was able to get a hanger to stick to the glass and then hang my wreath.  Dear readers, it is the Christmas season.  Embrace it simply and joyfully!

 

Thanksgiving and contentment

I love the sky and the canopy it forms over me, no matter what the weather.  After several beautiful cloudless days the skies became overcast overnight.  Today was grey and warm, not at all like Thanksgiving should be. The boys and I were on the last leg of our evening walk when I realized that the grey skies had parted to reveal a beautiful sunset.  Through the trees and around the houses I could see a bright pink, medium orange, and a hint of yellow sunset accented by the grey clouds caught in the display.

It only lasted a few minutes and then the clouds closed back over the western sky. As I watched I realized how much I have to be thankful for, nothing specific.  I just knew that the things I complain about are really petty and that, in spite of various concerns, I have plenty.  And, there is contentment in that!

A new word – abrogate

If you’ve read my blog for a while then you know that I love words and I especially love to discover a “new” word and then research it.  So let me elucidate on my newest word, abrogate.

Abrogate is a verb meaning to repeal or do away with a law, right, or formal agreement (implying authoritative action). In addition, it can mean to fail to do something that is required (not taking responsibility). A close synonym is “annul”.

Example of use in a sentence:  After his failure to take necessary action the company’s directors were force to abrogate the CEO’s contract.

It originated in the 16th century,  being derived from the Latin root rogare, “to propose a law,” and ab-,  “from” or “away.” Just to note that prerogative and interrogate are also based on the same root, rogare .

Say it out loud a few times. You will like the way it sounds and want to use it in a sentence!

Upheaval

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My neighborhood was constructed over very unstable ground, and as a result most homes have shifting foundations. When one homeowner dug up their yard to re-landscape they revealed a sidewalk that clearly showed signs of upheaval. If the shifting ground did that to a sidewalk I can only imagine the force that is moving my house’s foundation around! The movement of forces deep within the earth certainly has a tremendous effect on what’s on the surface.

We experience upheaval in our lives, too. And while we usually blame external forces such as jobs or family quite often it is really internal just like the force of the shifting ground. The external force may be the trigger that sets off the upheaval, but the inner self then takes over. The problem gets rolled around in our mind and then grows significantly until our vision is cloudy and out of focus; the real issue becomes obscured. Then it simmers like a pot of soup or chili that is bubbling on the back of the stove. To further increase the upheaval we may discuss the issue with friends and family; like Job’s well-meaning friends they give us their view of the problem and how we should react.

As the upheaval starts step back, realize what is happening, and accept it. It may not be easy to do that or to think of the issue with a joyful heart, but it is the first step to avoiding upheaval. Then before your inner self takes control ask God to bless the situation. Just lifting it up to Him and knowing that He will take you through the situation takes the weight off of you and the upheaval never has a chance to start.