Here we are another year winding down to a blessed event. The Midwest is bracing for a blizzard. We are expecting heavy snow, with temperatures and wind chills diving well below zero. It certainly makes me pause and wonder exactly what the weather was like on that blessed event so many years ago.
Now, I am the furthest thing imaginable from a knowledgeable source, so my inquiry here is of intrigue only. So the story goes, we do know that Joseph was made to travel to his native city to pay taxes and that taxes were collected after harvest in the fall. We also know that an Israel winter is usually very mild, so it may be deduced that the weather was not brutally cold.
It is also told that the shepherds were minding their flocks and it is unlikely they were grazing their sheep in the snow. But it still leaves us to question how insanely difficult it would be to birth a child, a Messiah or not, under the foreboding shadows of winter.
All that aside, my thoughts today focus solely on how lucky most of us are. Modern conveniences and unthinkable technologies bring peace, comfort, and ease to lives that were once driven only by intellectual challenge, blind necessity, and limitless imagination.
At the same time, those same opportunities have limited (and often eliminated) the expansion of our brain’s capacity to reason, deduce, and think independently of preconceived notions and social expectations. Do we not reduce ourselves to a mindless existence when it is easier to compute a mathematical response by accessing the calculator app on a cell phone rather than utilizing taught principles?
Taxes, in the times of Joseph, had to be calculated by penning quill to parchment. Today we insert numbers into a program and trust an automated outcome. I simply cannot decide if that progress is good or evil.
Yet today, I am thankful for many modern conveniences. While I will still bury myself under layers of clothing and a blanket to try and stay economically warm this weekend, I will not be stranded in a stable or a cave for shelter from the storm. Quoting my dad in times of strife, “Life is great if you don’t weaken.”
So, onward we march toward a glorious celebration. Since I have no flock to mind in the fields, I will give love and comfort to my trusting companion – and, humorously so, the longest relationship with a male I have ever endured (17 years!) – my old pup, Seeker. I may be merely a poor, weak peasant, but my life is still abundant in riches. Ah, but that is fodder for yet another rant.
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