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Saturday, December 18, 2010


Made a fast trip to Colorado Springs. Heather was in labor and so naturally grandma and grandpa packed the car in 15 minutes and were on the road. Aspen Mikayl Zimmerman was born about 10 pm, Dec. 15, just minutes after we got there. She is bright-eyed and bushy tailed and very alert lifting her head to see everything. What a great Christmas present. On Thursday, Mom, Dad and baby spent the day getting acquainted and learning breast feeding-- while all the darned nurses and friends and well-wishers came to see them. Came home Friday about lunch time. Aspen established rules during the night by keeping them up all night. So I came up to fix breakfast and there stands Mom and Dad with hair going every direction, looking utterly bummed out and consulting baby books. Ah, kids are an irrational number problem so you never have all the answer in perfect decimal.

And then as all this is going on, I am catching bits and pieces of the politics of the day on TV. Wow, the Dems canned their latest Porkulus Spending Bill! Here, I was getting all geared-up to learn about different porkbarrel projects. Now they are gone and I will never figure them out. What was "Beaver Management" for example? If you don't manage your beavers, do they play lots of loud heavy metal music and wake all the neighbors up? Do they go after the neighbors peach tree, two beavers work on the trunk while all the others stand around in awe holding their little paws up and going "Peaches!!!!" Or is Beaver management when you use that million dollars and buy a lot of 22 rifles and hand them out to Cajuns saying, "Well da boss is buying dinner. Go shoot you self a beaver." Beats me. Politics has been so interesting this week, but I have not the heart for it. I'd rather rock the baby.

I was reading Matthew and Luke's account of Christmas and every year I notice something new. Only a living God would trust His salvation to two peasants and their reaction to what we would call a Crisis Pregnancy today. That's a God willing to risk! Now they do studies on the science of beauty these days and have found some stunning things. There apparently is a universal standard for beauty. Blind tests of people looking at pictures in Africa, Japan, Scotland, and America find that they pick out the same pictures as handsome and beautiful. Densel Washington and Pamela Anderson are beautiful folks no matter where in the world you ask people. But that is only the beginning. What we do as humans is talk to each other and judgments on beauty are immediately overprinted by character traits. Men don't want whining women, Women like kind, honest men who have a good career. Finally, as people fall in love, thier impressions of beauty change radically. So the girl you thought was a 6 when you met is now your 9.5. And then since we are not all Barbie and Ken, humans lower their standards of beauty when they know they don't rate so high themselves.

Put these observations to Mary and Joseph. Joe is by Christian tradition about 40 and Mary 16. Joe is quite poor have the occupation of tecton or builder or carpenter. Landless but originally from Bethlehem, he has to save up for years to accumulate a dowry or bride price they paid in those days. Cost of a bride is about the cost of a house, say $100,000 in today's money. But Mary may not have been the most marriageable material either. Her cousin, Elizabeth was married to a priest, the richest of Jewish folks. Maybe Mary was homely and would only attract a carpenter in the arranged marriage. Or maybe they just fell in love. Whatever the case Joseph is kind like few other guys, that he would willingly forfeit his dowry and divorce Mary quitely, thinking only of her predicament. Maybe he didn't have much job but he must have gone up several points in Mary's eyes and set her determination to win him somehow someway. And then the accounts tell how she willing ly went along to Bethlehem although almost due to give birth. She needn't have gone according to Roman laws. And unless Joe had a buddy with a donkey, she didn't ride, she walked--our modern traditions of depicting Christmas are conjecture. 65 miles waking at 9 months brings on labor. Then she underwent what must have been almost cruel humiliation of delivery. Joseph must have been in wonder at how much of a noncomplaining trooper she was. Just the kind of wife I need as I work from project to project! And then I wonder about a detail recorded in both their dreams. "Say, Joe, have you thought anything about the name?" "It has to be Jesus!" Just imagine the meeting of the minds over that one. I would be very surprised if this couple didn't see each other with new eyes after that first Christmas. And beauty is in the eye of the beholder, is it not. What we know is that the gospels record that Jesus had 4 brothers (and possibly more sisters). A happy loving couple indeed. Read between the lines of Christmas and see a love story.

And so we hope Aspen can result in a love story for our son and daughter-in-law as well. Shirley and I call this stuff the "joys of parenthood" and still laugh about the trials today. What di they call this in Kansas? Ad astra per aspera--"To the stars though difficulties".