December 12, 2013

Blessed by the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people…the Sunrise from on high shall visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. Luke 1:66, 79

Can’t get out to see any national parks? Then let the parks come to you!

Google Street View takes you on virtual hikes through more than 44 National Park Service locations to showcase the wonders of, among others, Sequoia, Joshua Tree, Yellowstone, the Lincoln Memorial and Mount Rushmore.

Another fun visual is the Sierra Club’s subway-style map, showing the Park Service units specifically designated as “national parks.” Their (relative) locations are superimposed over an outline of the United States to give you a feel of how they’re situated.

And if you like learning about the history and culture or the parks as well as their scenery, check out the Park Service’s electronic library. It’s sort of an online “one-stop shopping” for thousands of publications. Even if you never get to any of the parks, you can still enjoy reading about them.

And just today, I learned that the website National Parks Traveler is inviting members to collaborate on its “Parkipedia” section. You can join for an annual $9.95 fee, and use your knowledge and insights to share the best places to stay, hike, eat, etc. in the parks.

All these resources are available with just a few mouse clicks. Isn’t technology great?!

We all need a guide to help us navigate new and unfamiliar territory, in order to make the most of an experience, whether it’s an everyday one or once-in-a-lifetime, online or in person. I find that just when I think I’ve mastered something in life, along comes an entirely new stage or problem. For example, I enjoyed my teen years, but I couldn’t wait to be 21! That milestone, though, came with responsibilities I didn’t have before—paying bills, working a full-time job and marriage. Then my daughter came along in my 30s, and I had to figure out what to do with her! In between came all sorts of other challenges to meet—and I anticipate no let up in the future. For one thing, I’m trying to handle growing older!

Bet you can relate!

The four weeks of Advent we’re in right now take us to Christmas Day, when we celebrate the birth of the long-anticipated Messiah, Jesus. Zacharias summed up the history and the yearning behind that wait, at the circumcision ceremony for his son, John, who would pave the way for Jesus’s public ministry (Luke 3:1-22). “[He will] guide our feet into the way of peace,” he concluded (Luke 1:79).

Our Life Guide paid us a visit, in person, over 2,000 years ago. He knows what it’s like to duke it out here on earth (Hebrews 4:15, 16), and His words live on in the pages of the guidebook He left behind, the Bible.

This Christmas season, I pray that each one of us will experience anew His peaceful guidance, freely given to lead us through our ever-changing, chaotic world (John 14:27).

Leave a Reply