Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ringing Out 2013

The year 2013 has surely equaled or surpassed other recent years in crazy, ominous, and sometimes positive developments.

President Barack Obama used his second inauguration to declare his intention to continue pursuing a "progressive" agenda. However, the usual presidential second term blues seemed to come on even faster and more intense than usual as the conversation turned to the the alphabet soup of scandals involving the use of the IRS in impeding political opposition and the revelation of the expansion of the NSA's information gathering to include possibly electronic communications made by anyone. And then there is still the ongoing question of what happened in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012.

In October, the partial 'shutdown' of the federal government resulted from deadlocks in Congress and with the Administration over Obamacare, spending and the debt. After the dust settled, it became apparent that Obamacare is every bit the "train wreck" that had been foreseen by many.

International developments included the bloody conflict and gruesome terrorism in Syria and other places and Iran's inching toward possession of nuclear weapons, while China and Russia each sought to reassert superpower status. Weakness in US leadership is not a good thing especially in light of these ominous developments.

Natural disasters were as frequent as ever, from tornadoes and winter storms in the US to the devastating hurricane in the Philippines, along with others that have slipped my mind at the moment.

Developments in science, technology and medicine continued to advance. Expansion into space continued, including the quickening pace on the Mid-Atlantic Space Coast (highlights from April and September), the demonstration of robotic refueling technology and another company announcing an asteroid prospecting/mining venture. The appearance of an exploding small asteroid over Chelyabinsk, Russia in February was a clear reminder that whether or not we go into space, space will come to us.

The other startling event in February was the announcement by Pope Benedict XVI of his resignation from the papacy, the first in ~600 years. His successor, Pope Francis has brought an informality and "hands-on" style that has captured the world's attention. While some hope for and others fear radical changes, there is a fundamental continuity between Francis and his predecessors. Most important is his reminder that our hope is in Jesus Christ and in the Father's Love that will sustain us as we enter into the perilous yet promising year of 2014.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Have a Holy and Merry Christmas!

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus
that the whole world should be enrolled.
This was the first enrollment,
when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.
And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth
to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem,
because he was of the house and family of David,
to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
While they were there,
the time came for her to have her child,
and she gave birth to her firstborn son.
She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields
and keeping the night watch over their flock.
The angel of the Lord appeared to them
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were struck with great fear.
The angel said to them,
"Do not be afraid;
for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people.
For today in the city of David
a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.
And this will be a sign for you:
you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes
and lying in a manger."
And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel,
praising God and saying:
"Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."

Luke 2:1-14