Monday, December 24, 2012

Tis the Night Before Christmas.

      December 24th at about 3pm in the afternoon.  I'd had some smooth sailing through getting the sink plumbed and the drain hooked up in the second bathroom at my place.  I've been waiting for a break in the nursing classes to get back at it.  I was driving to Rhinelander after some more materials I needed, listening to a CD which I had piled all sorts of Celtic and Irish Christmas songs and carols onto, enjoying "Unto Us a Child is Born".

      I thought, "Yes", this is good.  I'm feeling the joy here.  God, in this baby boy whom we ponder over on this day every year, coming in the person to reconcile the world back to Himself.  What a day, what a time in eternity, it was when God came to visit one of probably His many worlds, and let them know that He is out there, and that all of His creation means something to Him.

      But then I thought, "Would I be feeling this joy if it were not for this great piece of home-made fruit cake I'm chewing on?".  "This great music on a pretty good car stereo system?" Or the memory back through the years of all of the good worldly lusts and pleasures I have satisfied during the Christmas season?  Without those, would I still be feeling this joy?  About the child born unto us?  No, it would be a different sort of joy.  Much, much greater.  Much more real.  Much more joyous.  I mean, scream and get out of your mind kind of joy.  Now.  That's joy.  And if it turns into a memory, get rid of it.  And turn your mind again to the living God.  Jehovah!!!  Jesus' Father.  Our Father, who calls the ones who are led by Him "His" children.  Who made us with the ability to both love Him in return, or reject Him and follow after our own misconceptions, and be left behind. So we follow Him, through the Bible, where He reveals His Spirit to us, and our spirit to us, and offers to join His Spirit with ours, and make us His sons (male and female);  in such a way that, "...All who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God" (Romans 8:14).  "But though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. (2Co 4:16 NAU)  

"The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,...".

      He finally brings us truth -- knowledge of the existence of the Father, and who the Father is.  He brings us news of something greater.  'Good news', which is the very definition of the word 'gospel'. News that can produce a work of a different sort in us; news that makes the 'once invisible' now 'visible'.  Full of life and light.  An invisible yet tangible presence in our understanding, in our inward parts; a discernible presence that wants us to become familiar with Him.  The love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.  (Romans 5:5)   

"These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full."
(John 15:11)

      It pleased God that "unto us" a Savior would be born to call us back to Him, our Creator and Father, that our joy may be made full, and that the kind intention of His will toward those who love Him be made known to them.  He made us not just to return to dust, but to chose to return to Him.

Something that can make one turn away in astonishment and awe from the cookies.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Big Universe -- Voyager 1

      SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - NASA's long-lived Voyager 1 spacecraft, which is heading out of the solar system, has reached a "magnetic highway" leading to interstellar space, scientists said on Monday.
      The probe, launched 35 years ago to study the outer planets, is now about 11 billion miles (18 billion km) from Earth. At that distance, it takes radio signals traveling at the speed of light 17 hours to reach Earth. Light moves at 186,000 miles per second). Voyager 1 will be the first manmade object to leave the solar system.
      Scientists believe Voyager 1 is in an area where the magnetic field lines from the sun are connecting with magnetic field lines from interstellar space. The phenomenon is causing highly energetic particles from distant supernova explosions and other cosmic events to zoom inside the solar system, while less-energetic solar particles exit.
      "It's like a highway, letting particles in and out," lead Voyager scientist Ed Stone told reporters at an American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco.
      Scientists don't know how long it will take for the probe to cross the so-called "magnetic highway," but they believe it is the last layer of a complex boundary between the region of space under the sun's influence and interstellar space.
      "Our best guess is it's likely just a few months to a couple years away," Stone said.
Voyager 1 hit the outer sphere of the solar system, a region called the heliosphere, in 2004 and passed into the heliosheath, where the supersonic stream of particles from the sun - the so-called "solar wind" - slowed down and became turbulent.
      That phase of the journey lasted for 5.5 years. Then the solar wind stopped moving and the magnetic field strengthened.
      Based on an instrument that measures charged particles, Voyager entered the magnetic highway on July 28, 2012. The region was in flux for about a month and stabilized on August 25.
Each time Voyager re-entered the highway, the magnetic field strengthened, but its direction remained unchanged. Scientists believe the direction of the magnetic field lines will shift when the probe finally enters interstellar space.
      Other clues that Voyager has reached interstellar space could be the detection of low-energy cosmic rays and a dramatic tapering of the number of solar particles, Stone said.
      Voyager 1 and a sister spacecraft, Voyager 2, were launched 16 days apart in 1977 for the first flybys of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
      Voyager 2, traveling on a different path out of the solar system, has experienced similar, though more gradual changes in its environment than Voyager 1. Scientists do not believe Voyager 2, which is about 9 billion miles (14.5 billion km) from Earth, has reached the magnetic highway.

And the next planet it would come to is 40,000 years away.  Really, a trifling speck of time in terms of eternity.  An interesting proposition for those that love the Lord.  And His visit.  And His promise.

40 "For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day."


   He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him(John 1:10)

He was here!  And His promise and His Spirit He has left here with us!