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I think the acronym has now entered the popular lexicon. Ceiling And Visibility Unlimited is an aviation term that represents perfect flying weather. It was evidently a favorite saying of President Bush 41, who was a WWII fighter pilot, and it played a prominent role in his memorial service as the nation sent him on his final flight. As a former private pilot who has flown in both good weather and CAVU conditions, it resonates with me.

I think often at this time of the year of numerous live nativity scenes I participated in during my early years of youth ministry. They were typically hilarious affairs, punctuated by the inevitable runaway donkey or the expletive that escaped from Joseph’s mouth after accidentally stepping in the mess left by the sheep. But there were also solemn and peaceful moments that somehow transcended time and place. I’m sure there were some bad weather nights, but my memory of these events is that it was always cold and crisp, with perfect and clear skies, stars popping by the millions. In those moments I always imagined that to be precisely the way it happened 2,000 year ago, the baby Jesus arriving during the night, but in perfect CAVU conditions.

The reality of contemporary life, of course, does not match our romantic notions of that original Christmas. The world seems, in many ways and to many people, to be a dark and cold place. Clear skies and an unimpeded view of a bright future aren’t what most people are experiencing. But that is precisely the point, isn’t it? The One who was born that night came, in fact, into a dark and messy world. He came to be the light that rises from the darkness, the life that death cannot defeat, the Hope that conquers despair. Alfred, Lord Tennyson, perhaps said it best:


“Rise, happy morn, rise, holy morn.

Draw forth the cheerful day from night,

O Father, touch the east, and light

The light that shone when Hope was born.”

⎯ In Memoriam

Rev. Don Underwood