Thursday, December 24, 2009

CHRISTMAS BEAUTY




MERRY CHRISTMAS! 

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

Charles Dickens

She came toward me bearing the beauty.  It was an amaryllis in full bloom that looked like a bowl of peppermint lolipops, with its tall stalks and bright red and white flowers.  "I just didn't know what to buy you," she said.  "I sure hope you and your husband enjoy it.  I thought it was so pretty."  

That precious one's joy in giving melted my heart.  Christmas gifts always dig deep into my soul's soil, for during the holidays, everyone has so many other people to think about and so much to do.  Boxes of candy, gift cards, loaves of banana bread, homemade cookies, ties for my husband, necklaces for me, tins of popcorn, flowers, candles, cash, and anything and everything are received into our lives with a lot of loving thoughts.  To us, each remembrance is a sweet sacrifice of self and finance.

We received the gift of the aforementioned Christmas amaryllis several years ago, and it remains very special to me, not only because of the lady whose grace and love gave the gift, but also, for its symbolism and its continual living message. 

This very day, this very moment as I write, the pretty peppermint-like flower lives and speaks because of its symbolic nature.  What was once a present of gratitude and fondness now means more to me than it ever has.  The tall, pristine winter flower symbolizes pride and beauty, just as a rose symbolizes love.  That message of the amaryllis is personal and moves my spirit.  My own amaryllis became a symbol of my personal testimony of  the spiritual conflict of true beauty and pride. 

When I first learned about the amaryllis and discovered that it represents pride and beauty, the two ideas sounded worldly and humanistic, like a theme from a short story whose heroic, self-sufficient character teaches the value of human strength.  But God refreshed my thoughts and gave me a personal message of Christ's strength and His hope for my own need.

Pure loveliness is Christ Himself.  Jesus is beauty incarnate, and His beauty reaches far beyond our frail, worldly concept of outward appearance.  Christ, in complete humility and sacrifice, divested himself of the glory of heaven, became a baby, grew up in a small, common village, and as a man and the Son of God, gave his life for our salvation by dying shamefully on a cross, then rose again for our justification, and now lives, sitting at the right hand of God, our Father, praying for us, always interceding on our behalves.

Jesus is true beauty.  He is pure.  He is noble.  He is real.  He is incomparable.

Pride is the opposite of true beautfy.  It is anything raised above the knowledge of Jesus; i.e., whatever longs to function and/or achieve on its own.  Pride is not pretty.  It grieves the heart of God and makes me amazingly unattractive to Him.  In heaven, Christ intercedes for me.  And I know He prays that I will lose my miserable pride and gain His glorious beauty.

In constant awareness of my own need and humanity, I search continually in my heart for the loss of pride and the real image of Christmas, the King's beauty.  Jesus, King of kings and Lord of lords, was born into this world, as a baby in a self-imposed state of utter humility, just for my need, my deliverance, and my redemption.

My search for inner beauty often leaves me disappointed.  Oh, yes, Jesus lives in my heart.  He is my life.  My All in all.  But my imperfect state of being yearns for the selfless love and giving up of self that comes with a deeper walk and a greater faith.

On my own I am hopelessly selfish.  But, with His love, God has enlightened my thoughts and has given me a new gift of the hope of a holy life in which God will be pleased:  the letting go of my own self and the reaching forward to Christmas beauty. 

Christmas day, not only will I share joy and blessing and comfort with my family, but also, I will share with the Lord an awareness of Himself and His glory in light of Who He is alone and in light of who I am compared to Him and His almighty power and endless love.

And in God's endless love, together, we can all wholly rejoice.  We can celebrate Christmas, the birthday of the one and only Savior of the world and of ourselves, despite whatever weakness or problem or burden we have.  Yes, we rejoice because of Who Jesus is and His great love for us!  May we all be overwhelmed by that amazing love and enjoy God's gift of life.  Praise Him!  Edify Him!  Exalt His name!  He is worthy of it, and He intends Christmas beauty and joy for you. 

Regardless of pain, regardless of imperfection, regardless of situation, Christ is who He says He is.  He is our Christmas beauty for all days and all times.  And His love is always present with us.  Soak in His comfort and peace.  Breath in His love for you.  Whisper His name with a grateful heart.  And study His beauty, His loveliness, that was first revealed to us in the form of a tiny baby that was humbly born in an animals' stall. 

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" (ICorinthians 2:9, NIV).



Christmas hath a darkness;
Brighter than the blazing noon;
Christmas hath a chillness
Warmer than the heat of June,
Christmas hath a beauty
Lovelier than the world can show:
For Christmas bringeth Jesus,
Brought for us so low. 

 

Christina Rosetti    

18 comments:

  1. Such a beautiful post, Andrea. Thank you for sharing this with us today. May your Christmas be truly blessed as you celebrate Jesus and His gift to all of us.
    Merry Christmas and may your New Year be wonderful too!!

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  2. Dear Andrea,
    Merry Christmas!
    I have been thinking about you all and wondering how your husband's procedure has gone...appreciate the update and will continue to pray for your whole family.
    We just finished eating German Chocolate Cake for my husband's 55th Birthday. The Kansas wind is howling outside as snow continues to fall. A winter wonderland for Christmas for sure!
    Please tell me how your clean up is going from the auto fire.
    Warm wishes to you!
    Deanna in Kansas

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  3. Thank you for sharing such a poignant post.

    A very blessed Christmas to you and your family.

    Because of Christ,
    Vivianna

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  4. Beautiful~~~~
    Merry Christmas~ dear friend!!!!!! :)

    Love in Jesus~ Miss Jen

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  5. Merry Christmas Andrea to you and your family. Thanks so much for the gift of friendship and being a blessing to me!

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  6. Your blog always lifts me up and encourages me. God bless you richly this coming year. Thank you for your friendship and prayers.

    In Christ we live and move and have our being!

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  7. Hello dearest most sweetest!
    I love this:
    Jesus is true beauty. He is pure. He is noble. He is real. He is incomparable.
    Such true words.
    Our daughter had a miscarriage. That is why we are sad. They have the two darling girls and we are so thankful. This was her second loss - the pregnancy between Bug and Birdie was a cord death, this one a first trimester miscarriage. She is strong but fragile right now and this mother/grandmother grieves, too. So thank you for your compassion. I love the way you love.
    I've thought of you so often during this season. You, a beautiful bird who loves her house and shares it with others, without your nest this season. I think it will be somehow different when you are back in it. You may have some special little altars that were not there before. Please look in the mirror today and see your dear self there and KNOW you are cherished and beloved. Would you do that for me? Oh,how I want to attend to my friends, to really look at them and love them. Since I cannot do that face to face, I want you to know you matter to me. I check in with you whenever you post and sometimes more often. You have such a nice heart.

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  8. Andrea:

    Another beautiful reflection for this most holy and precious of days. Enjoy this day with your sweet hubby and loved ones. You are a blessing to so many, and to me.

    May the year ahead be filled with the joy of Jesus, and his miracles in your heart and home.

    Love and hugs,

    Sonja

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  9. What a treasure to have this gift after so many years; so glad it survived the fire--a reminder of God's grace and providence in your life.

    So glad to have you in my life this past year and look forward to what "new" things are headed our way in the New Year.You are well loved, friend.

    peace~elaine

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  10. Merry Christmas, dear Andrea, and thank you for this beautiful Christmas message.

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  11. As always, my friend,your words are thought provoking, and nurturing to my soul. You have been through so many trials of late...and yet, you have come out of the fire refined and so much more beautiful. I am excited to see what God has in store for you.

    Happy New Year, my dear sister in Christ.

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  12. Wonderful...especially the last paragraph...and Deborah is right...you are a beautiful child of the King!

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  13. "He is our Christmas beauty"--I love that. A belated Merry Christmas, Andrea.

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  14. Christ is certainly who He says He is and proves it to us over and over again.
    Wishing you God's richest blessings in this coming year.

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  15. What a special delight to find you decorating the parlor with your usual warmth & wisdom. I love the sentiment: Christ is our beauty. It's powerful, and so very lovely.

    I pray the wrap-up of 2009 is filled with all manner of excitement about what is to come in 2010. There will be beauty!

    Blessings, friend.
    Kathleen

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  16. Such wonderful thoughts worded beautifully. Hope your Christmas was very blessed and may your 2010 be simply grand!
    Thanks for sharing this post with us.

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  17. Andrea,

    Merry Christmas dear friend! I am finally back home and trying to get caught up with all of my blogland friends:). Your post, as always, is beautiful and inspirational! I hope you and your family had a beautiful Merry Christmas and blessings for a lovely New Year!

    Blessings,

    Kim

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  18. Andrea, I was fortunate to find your blog about 1 yr ago (Feb or so of 09) and I linked to you. Shortly after my heart got too full of clutter to blog, but I am back in the saddle! God has graciously refreshed me greatly! Anyway, I wanted to come and visit again and re-introduce myself. Everything is just as lovely as ever. I am not at all surprised to see you discussing the topic of Our Lord's Beauty - you clearly think on it often, it shows in your site AND writings as I recall!

    Strangely, my Mom and I were talking about the source of all beauty, and how our culture in many ways, is rejecting true beauty, for a perversion or even completely rejecting all pretense of it. Which of course is a symptom of a culture hostile to Christ. So grateful for beautiful souls with Christ's light shining brightly in bloggyland and irl!

    Happy, happy New Year!

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Thank you for visiting. I cherish your thoughts. You are special to me, but most of all, you are special to God, who loves you with everlasting love. May your life be swept into His joy and peace.

In the Wonderful Love of Christ our Savior,

Andrea