Monday, December 17, 2007

Imagine one of those little, bug-eyed chihuahuas. Once they start shivering, they simply can’t stop. That’s a pretty good visual of me right now. This house is pretty drafty, not to mention sprawling, and we’ve not been here long enough to accumulate a stash of seasoned firewood. This morning dawned bitterly cold, albeit sunny, and the temperature inside was no great improvement on that outside. Before he left, Papa gave me the task of calling into the faithful Dial-a-trade to see if my extraordinary radio talents could scare up any seasoned firewood. Which done, I worked at my desk, a faithful secretary, awaiting the truckloads of incoming phone calls I knew would be rolling in. The phone rang and I answered, politely. “Yeah,” came a high-pitched drawl from the other end. “I’ve got me some good, seasoned pine here, I’ll sell ya for seventy-five a rick.” “I’m sorry,” I answered, “I don’t need pine, I need a hardwood that’ll give more heat.” Across the line came gales of laughter, and a familiar voice. “This is the Papa. She fell for it, Gene!”

Our newest guest acquisition comes as a spotted salamander, discovered in a cold, little heap by Mom as she gathered an armload of firewood for her bedroom stove. The little fellow was quickly transported inside where he alternately curls into a ball in the sunshine on the floor or hides under anything handy—Josiah’s math book, my sweater and the big pillow. My mind goes back to article I once wrote on the Siberian Newt—a salamander who’s been known to freeze alongside woolly mammoths, only to scurry away again once thawed.

I dove into Sibelius after supper—a supper consisting of my first attempt at Indian food—to orchestrate my Christmas wishes. Arranging “We Three Kings” has proven challenging. I can hear so much more in my head than I can get down on paper, such is my limited knowledge of the intricate workings of music. In other words, I might be a great composer, if only I knew anything about writing music. Please take note of the obvious sarcasm before you pity my ignorance. The song itself is one which I used to think trite and childish—especially since the myth of three wise men simply springs from the three gifts. But the line, “King and God and sacrifice”, denoting the spiritual significance of the three gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh caught my attention this year and set me pondering. Interesting how I’ve heard it said that Jesus was prophet, priest and King. He was also King and God and sacrifice. The parallels are breathtaking: King of Kings. Prophet and God—speaking for Himself about Himself, because He needs no greater testimony. Most outstanding, both priest and sacrifice. The old testament speaks of the need for spotless gifts, for purified priests, for sacrifices offered to make the priest holy enough to enter the Holy of Holies. In Jesus we have a priest, the only perfect man, entering the Holy of Holies to sacrifice Himself. On the altar, before God, He laid aside all that was divine and holy, took on all that was wicked and sinful, and gave His own life, the ransom for many. When He cried out, “It is finished! Paid! Done!” the curtain covering the most Holy Place was torn in two pieces, from top to bottom, permitting access to those sprinkled by the precious blood of the Lamb of God. Today, though I may not present Him with gold and frankincense and myrrh, I can recognize Him as King and God and Sacrifice, and worship Him for His worthiness to fill all three offices.

Lord, Thou left Thy throne on high,
To shroud Thy deity and die,
The sacrifice for every sin,
That, sprinkled, we might enter in.

And by Thy sacrifice to claim
A people called by Thy own name.
Three times holy, Great I am:
Worthy God and King and Lamb.

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