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A Sky Full of Wonder

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posted by Michael Kight alias snapdragginphoto on Saturday 26th of December 2020 04:19:25 AM

On a self-imposed assignment earlier this month, I hauled myself out of my warm motel bed at 0’dark:30 and prepared to head out into the wilds of Linville Gorge. I was ready for hours out in the 23°F (-5°C) ambient temperature there with cozy layers, gloves, and a furry trapper hat to keep the wind from whistling through my ears. My Canadian friends would likely be laughing at me, as they consider that to be t-shirt weather. To be fair, this North Carolina boy drove 3-hours up from the sub-tropical end of the state, into the high country with a climate that more resembles the northern tier of the continent. Now, I enjoy a good hike as much as anyone, especially with a destination in mind to set my tripod on, though walking twice the distance around my own chill bumps can get tedious. My attempt was to shoot comet Erasmus. The internet was all abuzz about it in November. Predicted to brighten to Magnitude 5 in the wee hours of the 9th, it would also be its last pass in the night sky, not to be seen in this neighborhood for another 2,000 years. I needed an iconic foreground with an open east-facing sky. Wiseman’s View fits that description perfectly. By all evidence, I was on my own in Linville Gorge as I drove along the ridge on 105… and I was disappointed to see low clouds in the east. The comet, rising just before sunrise would be obscured. I press on just the same, as something might be salvaged from this. I didn’t get what I wanted, but I definitely wanted what I got. The scene that unfolded from Wiseman’s was nothing less than astonishing. I was so captivated with a deep sense of wonder, that I barely took note of the cold… I wouldn’t have been too surprised if the Heavenly Host of herald angels suddenly cracked the sky. No other time of the year captures our imagination as much as Christmas: God coming into the world on a dark winter’s night; a baby’s cry that would change the course of human history; the heavens bursting into song; the certain hope that God will have the last word over our brokenness. We’re a long way from the manger, but this season still fills our hearts with the wonder that anything is possible. I am reminded that those “herald angels” didn’t bring the ‘good news’ to the high and mighty, kings or potentates, or even the government, but to shepherds. Shepherds were the lowest rung of that society, the ‘non-essentials’, as it were. This Christmas finds many such people, non-essentials, out of work through no fault of their own, out of means to feed and house their families, or trying to keep what’s left of their businesses alive. I read of someone complaining of a young couple going door-to-door trying to drum up work. I was a contractor for years. Given these circumstances, I might well have done the same. It’s time to rediscover the true wonder of Christmas by sharing the love of Christ with others. Find ways… treat others as yourself; keep your guard, but don’t just assume the worst in others. Shop and order take-out from locally owned businesses and restaurants. Provide for food banks, buy gift cards for supermarkets, and give them to those in need. Check power and fuel companies for programs to help those who can’t pay their bills. There are a myriad of ways to be Jesus to the world… you’re welcome to add to this list. Jesus told us to go out into the world… you do that every time you step out your door. My heart breaks for those folks, and there’s only so much I can do… but together, “anything is possible.” Merry Christmas!

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  • Published 07.06.22
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