I was walking recently in a valley near campground I’m staying at. This valley is steep and rocky with houses, property lines, fences, and boundaries meandering helter-skelter over the hills. The value of these homesteads, I’m sure, is measured in many hundreds of thousands of dollars. Almost every driveway is gated. A sign on one reads: We don’t call 911. Many houses have dogs—not one or two, but sometimes a half-dozen. Not small dogs, but large, scary dogs.
Despite the natural beauty that manages to rise above the human element, the feeling of the place is hostile. Why would you hang a threat on your front door? Do you really believe that the world is that dangerous? Do you ever consider that most of the humans you share this planet with have no locks, no doors, and often no house?
It is Christmas, when a most commonplace event became newly miraculous. In the most simple and unremarkable of circumstances, time, history, and humankind changed forever.
In the spirit of the season, I give you a poem and some pictures. The first is by G.K. Chesterton, the prolific British author; the latter documents the unique face of Texas, which I just spent a few weeks exploring.
So, Merry Christmas, Fellow Travelers. Peace and blessings on this feast in which Immanuel visited his people and cleft time in two.
Light, Star, Fire, Crown
The Christ-child lay in Mary’s lap,/his hair was like a light/(O weary, weary were the world,/But here is all aright.)
The Christ-child lay on Mary’s breast,/His hair was like a star./ (O stern and cunning are the kings,/but here the true hearts are.)
The Christ-child lay on Mary’s heart./His hair was like a fire./(O weary, weary is the world,/But here the world’s desire.)
The Christ-child stood at Mary’s knee,/His hair was like a crown./And all the flowers looked up at him,/And all the stars looked down.
Some images from this amazing world we share. Click on a photo. The gallery will load, and you’ll be able to scroll through all of them.