Advent 11


It’s been a cold, wintry day where I am, even though winter is still fourteen days away.  I suppose I could say it had been a blustery autumn day.  The perspective would most likely be a matter on your vision and how you observe the day.  For instance, if you were cold, then it would have seemed like a wintry day.  Likewise, if you were not really bothered by the temperatures, it would have been an autumnal day.


What we observe has a huge effect on how we encode that data and how we then act upon it.  It is perhaps the single most defining factor in the grace we then portray and share with others.  We’ve discussed before the various ideas and philosophies about how we learn and perceive things.  For instance, a bed is easily identified but only because someone at some point in time taught us that it was a bed.  Otherwise, we might call it a padded box or elevated pad.


I could have reacted to this blustery, rainy, and chilly day in a negative fashion.  If I had a trip to the park and a picnic planned, those plans would have needed to be altered due to the weather.  Most people in my area probably were disdainful of the weather and the problems it might have caused.  For those working on roofs or painting houses, the day was time off or time to be spent on inside projects.  Some might have griped but others might have been pleased.


What really matters is our desire to see the grace in life around us.  To understand that there is grace in all things, not just the things we agree with or like.  Recently many have found it hard to be civil to those supporting the opposing candidate and today’s announcement of TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year has not quelled those feelings.  It is hard to see grace in disappointment.


The challenge to us is not when things go our way.  The true test of maturity, of faith, and of grace occurs when things are not perfect.  Take a day in the park.  If the day is sunny and quiet with a gentle breeze, it is easy to enjoy and feel rested.  What if the park is in the middle of a large, noisy metropolitan area and the weather has turned cold?  Can you still find the grace in those moments? 


Here is a poem written and used with permission by M. Story.  (Remember this poem, like this blog, is copyrighted.)  The poet visited a park that was familiar, hearing the usual sounds, seeing typical sights and feeling a bit chilled.  On this day, however, Story saw grace in the being.  “The cold has never been so warm” the poet wrote.  On this day, this poet saw grace all around and, because of that, she “let myself fall into this beautiful colorful world.”  We should all take a lesson from her and do just that each and every day.  We need to live each day with grace and see the empirical evidence of it all around us.


The Park

Deep blue is rippling; Waves are crashing;

Rocks are beautiful; specks of color strewn around me.

The trains are bumping on the blue bridge.

It’s like music moving through the air –

Moving through my head: Cha-ching!

The cold, very cold, makes me bundle up;

Lots of layers, wool socks, a beanie on my head.

My friends are all around me, laughing in the sunshine.

Golden sun; honey leaves.  My world is of color.

How have I never seen this before?

The world needs places like this where you can get away

And relax and sing songs.

A fresh chicken sandwich; the tire swing.

I can’t imagine hair braided with pretty purple petals.

The cold has never been so warm.

I feel my heart beating against my chest

As I let myself fall into this beautiful colorful world.


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