943. If you wish to know the Creator, come to know His creatures. ~Columbanus, Medieval Irish Monk

Out of the waters of God’s life
come the creatures of earth, sea, and sky.
With the birth of the creatures on the fifth day
there is the emergence of seeing, hearing,
smelling, tasting, and touching.
~J. Philip Newell

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One of the keys to listening needs to be simply an appreciative attentiveness to God’s creatures. The Book of Job says, “Ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you.” And to look to the animal world is not to look away from God; instead, it’s a way to look at a showing forth of the mystery of God. For it reveals something of the way of God’s seeing and sensing, and one can see as well that in Creation’s mysteries is part of the Christ mystery.

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I’ve seen animals, such as the bird in the photo above, who seem to be bowing before the Creator in gratitude for life, for the day, for His continuing Presence here. There is also the unbroken song of the creatures. And in Revelation John envisaged an unending song of praise being sung by all that swims and flies and has motion. He said every creature on earth here below and in the ocean beneath and in the air above was giving glory to God, singing Holy, Holy, Holy. ~Both paragraphs contain directly quoted, paraphrased, and/or adapted random excerpts from THE BOOK OF CREATION by J. Philip Newell

Consider first the Canada Goose,
brown body, whitish breast
black head, long black neck…
Then there’s the Barnacle Goose…
flight note
a rapidly repeated gnuk
gnuk gnuk gnuk gnuk gnuk gnuk gnuk
(like an ecstatic Eskimo)…
The snow goose
has a pure white plumage
with black-tipped wings…
In Europe you might take her for a swan
or maybe a gannet
till she lets you know abruptly
she’s all goose
so
there they go
through the wind, the rain, the snow
wild spirits knowing
what they know
~Kenneth White

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” ~Job 12:7-10  ✝

**Mike Bizeau posted the great photo of a bull elk on his blog, and I found the image of the bird with its head bowed on Pinterest

587. “Twas Christmas told the merriest tale…” ~Excerpt from Walter Scott

I will honor Christmas in my heart,
and try to keep it all the year.
~Charles Dickens

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In the 17th century after Oliver Cromwell came to power in England, Catholics were subsequently not permitted to practice their faith openly. Tradition holds that Catholic parents then developed the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, not only to teach their beliefs surreptitiously to their children but also to help them remember them. So it is that the partridge in a pear tree represents Jesus (the partridge will sacrifice its life to save its young). The two turtle doves refer to The Old and New Testaments. The three French hens stand for faith, hope, and charity or the three gifts the Wise Men brought to the baby Jesus. The four calling birds designate the four Evangelists–Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The five golden rings denote the first five books of the Old Testament. The six geese a-laying constitute the six days of Creation as described in Genesis. The seven swans a-swimming represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord). The eight maids a-milking are the eight Beatitudes. The nine ladies dancing depict the nine choirs of angels (Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels, and regular angels); or the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, patience, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control). The ten lords a-leaping point to the Ten Commandments. The eleven pipers piping are the eleven faithful Apostles. And the twelve drummers drumming signify the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. ~Romans 15:4   ✝

** Image via Pinterest