Friday, December 26, 2003

Christmas in the Desert

Christmas in the Sonoran desert has become one of my most treasured experiences. Needless to say, Salt Lake City is a [cold] desert and San Diego a [coastal] one, but the hot desert with its singular beauty and distinctive glory is something else completely! As I wrote in Voice of the Holy Spirit and Voice of the HS 2, in the Exodus desert and outside of any humanly designated governmental jurisdiction Israel first covenanted with Yahweh, receiving Yahweh’s commandment to have no other gods; after Jesus’ mikvah in the Jordan, the Spirit drove him into the desert. Underneath the crazy beauty of its bleakness, the desert teems with actual and potential life! The desert doesn’t often bloom, but when it does, its flowers are spectacular beyond anything “mere” words can capture. In the desert’s austere splendor we need to search for evidence of God’s sacramental presence, but the very nature of desert is an extremely sacramental hidden yet apparent one. Mary’s and Joseph’s child was born into stranger-ness and desertedness, just as later on Jesus died deserted outside the civilization of the city.

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