G'day to all who happen by. A somewhat nice day, by local standards anyway. The temperature is not only in the positive numbers, but is actually above the freezing point. Today at least. Now. the coming Thursday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday period is expected to have "high" temperatures in the mid-20's, with lows in the low teens. Not my every dream come true, but still in the positive digits. Later? we shall see. I do note that our former home in central Alabama is predicting lows in the mid-20's in that same period, something they're not accustomed to. Snow showers there on Saturday as well. And the weather radar in the area shows some "active" weather right this minute. Our former home in west Arkansas is predicting lows below freezing over the Tuesday -- Sunday night period, with lows in the teens Friday and Saturday nights. Our former home in East Tennessee has lows well below freezing in the Wednesday night-Sunday night period, which gets scary driving on the mountain roads there. Here, at least, there is some road clearing equipment, and by this time of the season, most (I did say "most") of the locals have recalled the techniques for driving in these conditions.
Yesterday was a good day, and I think a good day to begin the year. Starting the year with church worship service and prayer is a good way to begin, not only the year, but one's day as well. The Lord will not mind, not a bit, if we look to Him every morning, before the troubles and cares and temptations of the day take hold. Or the dissipations either: I confess to spending entirely too much time and attention on things that have no positive eternal significance. Better to start out with an expressed desire to be obedient to what He says, no matter what. Something that was reinforced in the worship service and sermon yesterday, and I think more than a few of us were in the same mind. Let us carry it forward through the year. With His help.
I had to make a run to the Big Box store this morning for Dear Wife. Some things we needed simply are not available at our nearby market, not at all. So off to the Big Box. Drove by some sad-looking gas stations en route. We live on the border of the Ohio-Pennsylvania line. The dolts and louts of Pennsylvania chose to, as of yesterday, add to what was already the nation's highest gasoline tax. So it went from $0.70/ gallon to $0.78/ gallon. Since the gas prices on the line were already about $0.22 higher in PA than in Ohio, and there were already a whole lot of those who live near the line coming onto the Ohio side to fill up, that will only increase. And the PA roads will still be lousy, the traffic signals will still be abominably orchestrated, and the "connected" within PENN-DOT will get raises. And the operators of the gas stations will take a beating. Liberalism. Ain't it great?
And I truly dislike having to go to the Big Box stores. In large part, due to the other customers. Those who park their carts sideways in the middle of an aisle, preventing any one else from passing through. Those who walk, three abreast, in other aisles, and very very slowly. Sometimes stopping totally as they meet up with others like them, utterly oblivious to everyone else who may be on a tight schedule.. Those who decide halfway through that the items they previously put into the cart are not right, and simply toss them onto whatever shelf or rack is closest. Or similar uncaring rude behaviors. Sometimes I truly wish that I'd been a hermit monk or the like, going months and years without having to interact with another human being. Not what I was called to, but being an introvert at heart is not always easy. Funny thing is, I have no fear of standing before a crowd of a thousand or more and speaking to them. Have done it. But interacting with four or five is hard, very. Oh, well. Don't need to undergo the Big Box experience for the better part of a month, again. OK.
The Old Testament reading, our "morning" reading, is chapters 3, 4, and 5 of the Genesis. Mentally titled "The Fall".
Yesterday was the Beginning, and the Lord saw that it was good. Says so, several times. That was as good as it gets. Today, the direction changes. Temptation and sin come into play, and death with that. And violence as well. And the Fallen Nature in every one of us from birth. There are those who believe and loudly proclaim that all people are essentially good. No. Sorry. Not true. Not at all, me included. This is where it began.
Yet I have to believe that the Lord knew of this well before He began His creation. And did it anyway. Hence, Jesus. And we glimpse the fact that Jesus and the Cross is not "Plan B". I believe that, though I do not understand it. Especially the "why would He bother?" part of it.
The New Testament passage for prayerful reflection is chapter 2 of the Gospel of Matthew.
This is the continuation of the appearance of Jesus. With more disruption. And death and pain. Here we see the horrid matter that is called the Slaughter of the Innocents. Children, ALL children in that district under the age of 2 years, were put to death, quite lawfully by the way, by the designated civil authorities. Joseph and Mary had had advance warning, and had fled to Egypt with the infant Jesus until Herod died. Those slaughtered children and their parents all suffered. Sometimes, suffering has nothing to do with our own sins or failures. Sometimes, it is part of something larger. I don't understand that, and certainly don't like it, but here we have a stark example of it. Again, the Lord knew, a million years in advance, that this would occur.