Season of Light

During the month of December, there are many celebrations from various cultures, faiths, and events to remember.

Many of these are linked to the winter solstice, which has been celebrated throughout history as the “rebirth of the sun.” The natural rotation of the earth was not known in earlier times, so the shortest day of the year (December 21) and the gradual lengthening of days afterward took on a meaning that has largely been forgotten.

We don’t know the exact date of the birth of Jesus, but over time, his birth was also associated with this “birth of the sun,” or many say “birth of the Son.” Early Christian celebrations were generally observed on days that were already holy days, such as the solstice, to help make the transition to Christianity.

…Shab-e yalda, the rebirth of the sun, was an ancient Iranian ceremony that reflected the basics of goodness and light against evil and darkness. (from Suite 101 – see link)

There are many other interesting days of celebration listed on that last link, including The Festival of the Wild Women!

Because I spent many years in Arizona, and Tucson in particular, one of my favorite December traditions is Las Posadas. This procession is a reenactment of the trip Mary and Joseph made from Nazareth to Bethlehem. A group dressed as angels, shepherds, and the holy couple go from house to house seeking shelter. The word posadas means “lodging” in Spanish. At each home, these “pilgrims” are served various foods, including tamales.

There are many other dates to honor during December, but three stand out for me as a special way of honoring this season of lights. They are World AIDS Day on December 1, Pearl Harbor Day on December 7, and Human Rights Day on December 10.

Mele Kalikimaka!

Glimpses of Arizona


During my career as a pastor, I spent 14 years living in Arizona. Someday, in future posts, I will focus on different areas and aspects of that diverse state. With all the negative press around Arizona right now, I began to remember the Arizona I loved. Today’s post shows only a few of my favorite scenes.

I took the above photo on the ranch of a dear friend in Elgin, AZ. Here she is with the big guys – their draft horses. I do miss my own horses!


Other friends in Tucson sent this shot of the mountains in winter.


For a few of those years, I lived in the old barrio section of Tucson. My home was one of those that had been renovated, still keeping to the flavor of old Mexico. At the corner of my street was this wonderful remembrance of a time past. My dream was to buy it and bring it back to life.


When I can dig out other photos of my beautiful Arizona and convert them to .jpg files, I will share them with you.

Hasta la vista!

Lake Powell Sunset


Another meaning for “look up” comes to mind with the beauty around us. I took this particular picture of a sunset on Lake Powell in Arizona several years ago when I led a group of high school students on a “boating camp.”

No radios, cell phones, no blow dryers – nothing that would distract from the beauty of nature was allowed. Oh, they complained, but when we watched the beautiful sunsets and sunrises from our camping spot, they didn’t seem to miss the artificial noises.

When I lived in other beautiful states, I would get so caught up in my daily activities that too often, I forgot to “look up” at the mountains around me. Then sometimes I would make myself deliberately pull over and admire the sun setting behind a mountain, or watch the lightning flare in canyons, or watch the snow fall on a distant hill.

Don’t forget to “look up” at what is around you every day! What do you see there today?

A hui hou!

Springtime in Arizona!

Regal Saguaro Cacti

Last weekend, I showed pictures from my daughter’s yard in Boise. Springtime in Boise is a bit different from Springtime in Tucson, but hollyhocks, wild flowers and cacti in bloom are as spectacular and as welcome as tulips in the spring.

I lived in Tucson for almost a decade and remember how the tiniest bloom on a cactus could take my breath away.

The hollyhocks that are starting to bloom belong to Sam and Phyllis Turner, friends in Tucson. A few of their geraniums and pansies got in there, too.

Pima Canyon is a 2-hour hike round trip. The pictures of Pima Canyon were taken by Virginia Mann, another Tucson friend. A hike through the canyon takes about two hours round trip. Enjoy the slideshow of Southern Arizona!

For a larger version, click here.

A hui hou!

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