Thursday, January 1, 2009
New Year's Day and Another Holy Day...
The kids and I spent New Year's Day up the mountain at my parents' cabin on Mount Laguna, at 6000 feet elevation. Despite the 70 degree weather extending even to our mountain town at 3700 feet, we found the first signs of snow at 5000 feet and a good covering at 6000, especially on northern slopes, as we drove up the winding mountain roads. Lots of other San Diegans were also playing in the snow, parking in every available spot even if some of the regular spots consisted of more mud than snow. We did fine in my little '91 Corolla (Molly by name -- yes, we named her) until we turned off the dry highway and started down the dirt, um, mud, road that leads to my parents' cabin. Molly slid a bit and we had San Diegans in front and driving the other ways who were not used to driving in either snow NOR mud. We managed to get Molly into the cabin's driveway under my dad's direction where we promptly got stuck. Knowing getting out would be interesting if not problematic, we unloaded and got the kids onto the slopes behind the cabin.
My parents' cabin sits on a north-facing slope, so the snow was still quite deep; I stepped into a drift that took me into the snow to my knees although most of the snow was 4-6 inches deep. The kids were immediately flying down the slope on the toboggan and disc and a couple of sledding mats. The temperature reached fifty by 1:00 PM, so off came the coats as the kids and my brother and his kids hit the slopes hard. Mom made a crock pot of chili for lunch, and we also had the traditional sauerkraut, which the Germanic side of my family insists brings prosperity in the New Year if eaten. I choked down a tiny forkful -- ugh! Disgusting stuff. We had a wonderful afternoon, playing Set and Apples to Apples, and I made more genealogy notes while talking to my parents. Mom said she'll pay for the software program I need to make sense of all the genealogy stuff I've collected, so I'll purchase Roots Magic very soon.
After seven or eight tries with my brother pushing her backwards, my dad finally dislodged Molly with the kids inside and drove her backwards the quarter-mile to the highway, with me following in my brother's truck. Then I took over driving Molly home after handing Dad the flashlight so he could walk back to the cabin in the MUD. Fortunately, we left around 5:45 PM before the temps dropped to freezing so we weren't slipping around too badly. It seemed much later than 6:00 PM when we got home, Keith getting home from a painting job just before we did.
Today is also the Eighth Day of Christmas, and also the Circumcision of Christ. As Jesus was indeed born a Jew, on the eighth day after birth he would have been circumcised, and liturgical churches remember this date as it shows how completely Jesus indeed became man for us.
The Collect for this day, January 1, reads:
Almighty God, who madest thy blessed Son to be circumcised, and obedient to the law for man; Grant us the true circumcision of the Spirit; that, our hearts, and all our members, being mortified from all worldly and carnal lusts, we may in all things obey thy blessed will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
At circumcision, the child would be formally named. Philippians 2, the Epistle for this day reminds us of Jesus' complete humanity and absolute divinity showed in His Name and in His power:
God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation in fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
So today takes us to a New Year and to a new resolve to love and serve in the Name of our Holy and Righteous Lord who became Man for our sakes.
Father Acker of Alpine Anglican Church of the Blessed Trinity wrote today on his blog Thursday Evening News:
"Born of Mary, a Jewish girl, Jesus was a Jew by birth. It was by circumcision that families were brought into the covenant relationship with the Lord God. In Jesus we are born into the family of God and circumcised into the covenant relationship with God; both in the reality of the flesh of Jesus. Yes, it is a messy business God being born of woman and the flesh of his foreskin. God came among us not in outward appearance, but in what we are, fully human and into our human existence. He came to fulfill The Law given by God as we humans had been unable fulfill because of our sin, our turning away from God.It is fitting that the Circumcision of the Child Christ is also New Year's Day on our modern calendar. Jesus is bringing about a new beginning for those are adopted into his death and resurrection. Our resolutions are begun upon what God has done for us; it is not in expectation that we are working to be better men and women. Our resolve centers upon responding to God's love, that our lives might reflect what God has given unto us. It is not our taking on or giving up, but letting our lives show what has been given. The gift of God is already there for those who have received Christ.If you haven't received Jesus into your heart, now is the time to ask him into your life. Now is the time to ask for the power of God to make you new in the sacrament of Baptism. This is the start of what begins every Christians' day, to ask Jesus to be Lord, Savior, and King in this new day, in this new year, and asking that power of God might fill our lives this coming day, and this coming year. And we know that no matter how messy our lives may get, real problems, real people, real tragedy, 'God is with us.' It is Jesus' name, Emmanuel, 'God with us.' Not in appearance, not in fancy words, but incarnate, in the flesh, the blessings of the Child Christ."
A blessed 2009 to you all!