The distance between the earth and the heavens has always fascinated me. As a boy I could look at the night stars and marvel at their brightness and the distance between me and them. As a fan of Flash Gordon and Superman I often tried to imagine what it was like out there and if there were people, creatures, beings like or unlike me who were looking out from their world through the same stars I was look at wondering similarly if someone else was out there. Somehow I was certain that there was intelligent life beyond the stars. I was certain that someday I too would visit the heavens.
Even now on a clear night on the mountain I love to gaze at the myriads of tiny lights that create the cloud-like haze of the milky way. The frequent interruption of my gaze by a passing jet reminds me even more of how very far they are away. Then I look at the images of Hubble's view of the universe and even though I know it can only see a small fraction in width and depth of what is "out there," I marvel even more at the beauty, the immensity and the majesty of the heavens. What one of us, who in a moment of disconnection from the single dimensional plane of our own existence on the earth, hasn't felt the awe of gazing into the heavens. But, there were some whose heaven gaze on a star-filled night witnessed Earth and Heaven coming together.
That night and those hillside gazers' view would forever put real perspective into the closeness of the heavens and the nearest of its non-fictional residents. As those shepherds witnessed the heavens come to life with the view and voices of that heavenly choir, they understood more about the reality of intelligent life in the heavens than even those who have created and gaze through Hubble. That night, the heavens and the earth came together and their residents marveled together beneath a single shining star at that heavenly traveler who made it possible for each of us to become residents of His heaven if we would, but learn the simple lesson He brought of how to bring heaven to earth.
Now we gather again with families and loved ones across the planet to celebrate and commemorate that most celestial event of over two thousand years ago. And although the commemoration may be lost in the tinsel and the rush, I hope that you and I will find a moment or two to once again gaze into the heavens and remember that He who came is coming again to bring His heaven to earth - soon.
May you and yours have a most blessed week of celebration of His birth, life and love. May each gift that you give and receive be a reminder of those that He has given. And may your view of the new year be filled with thoughts of what gifts you may bring Him in your service, love and labors in His behalf. May you as the shepherds find joy and choirs of heaven in your heart as you feed and care for His sheep.
We have come far. We have far to go. Let us ever enjoy the journey and seek to bring heaven and earth a little closer with the heritage of our eternal family.
Onward and upward
To the friends and family of Doug Cloward
Saturday, April 26, Doug was admitted to the hospital for a severe case of pneumonia. Later he was diagnosed with mantel cell lymphoma leukemia.
We have been receiving many emails and phone calls expressing love and prayers in behalf of Doug. We have set up this blog for updates on Doug's progress. Thank you all for your overwhelming support and care!