Christmastime seems to me to be a time especially for beautiful things, and so I love Christmastime. When outdoors everything is just a bit deader, a bit darker, a bit less warm (at least in my hemisphere), we do our best to make up for it on the inside! We light more candles, put lights on everything, build bigger fires, buy grander gifts, and eat and drink with a little more festivity.
It reminds me of life, of living. My world, the world, our world is sad and broken and hate-filled. When I have my moments of lucidity and honesty, I can admit that I, too, am sad and broken and hate-filled. My relationships are tinged with sadness and brokenness and hate. I don’t know about you, but it seems that I am always somewhat in the process of mourning and attempting to make right all of that.
And then I turn to beautiful things to remind me that God has not washed his hands of this world, of me, or of my relationships. I turn to stare at the startling ocean of Grace that suffuses every piece of the world with love and good and beauty. Not one thing remains untouched, even when I cannot begin to see it, though I strain my eyes. I turn back again to the Good work which God has given me to do: creating, suffusing, and sharing Love and Beauty wherever I go, as best I can, for the sake of all of us.
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For our last two Christmastimes, my little family has cut down our own little Christmas tree. On the weekend after Thanksgiving, we drive up into the mountains and embark on a search. (We try to drive until we find snow for the kids to sled and pelt me with snowballs; we are not always successful; I am not always disappointed. 😉 )
When you go to the Wild to cut down your own tree, you can be fairly certain of one thing: your tree will be quirky, relatively sparse, and whimsically asymmetrical. It will not be perfectly, impeccably beautiful. And I love it. Because today the imperfection of our tree is reminding me of the sad, broken hate that I must mourn and wrestle every day. And today its red-and-green Beauty, decorated half-heartedly with love by my boys, is reminding me that God and Grace and Love have won, are winning, and will win.
So this season, whenever I’m feeling sucked into the vortex of sadness, brokenness, or hate, I’m going to stare just for a moment into the quirky red-and-green of a certain lodgepole pine in my living room. May the mini green and red lights blind me with beauty, like the very Love of God.