Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Beautiful (11/07/05)
TITLE: God Magnifies Beauty in the Unexpected
By Cyndie Odya-Weis
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Daffodils are my favorite flower and after I wait all winter for the early Spring gold, I expect to be delighted. But when on a warm Spring day an early bloomer peeks through the ice and snow and mucky leaves; that’s magnificent. When God’s gifts arrive at unexpected times and in incongruous settings, the word “beautiful” takes on new meaning.
My mom (who adored flowers) used to marvel at the first Spring tulips, especially if they were in unexpected places. We saw yellow tulips popping up through the auto parts in a junk yard one year and red tulips in a vacant lot where a church had burned down.
“I’d never go to Holland for tulip time,” mom used to say. “There’s not much magic in carefully manicured gardens and the precise splitting and placing of bulbs by skilled gardeners.” Mom appreciated beauty magnified by surprises too. She liked God’s unexpected gifts of beautiful living things.
Likewise, a beanstalk peeking out of a storm sewer, a rosebud blooming after its vine traveled through the cracks in a brick wall and a tiny tree sprouting from debris in a rain gutter brought the same sense of awe when I was a youngster. Mom always pointed them out. “Look, God planned for beauty to be in the everyday ugliness,” mom would say. “You need to look for the beauty and the Jesus in everything and everyone,” she’d remind us. She’d make it her task to find that beauty in every person too, no matter what questionable things we knew about them.
“Their sins are no greater than mine,” she’d say about God’s children who robbed, raped, committed adultery or swore. Then she’d be quick to point out a positive trait or two. Even rude clerks and shoppers who cut in line got the other cheek and a second chance. God’s living creations "blooming" into beauty when and where it is least expected-wow! God brings life and novelty and grace together in awesome beauty surprises.
The incongruence of beauty sprouting from mundane and ordinary settings reminds me of Jesus’ humble birth. There in the stable, while animals munched on hay and shed bits of fur and exuded animal smells; there where insects may have buzzed around fresh animal droppings and birds probably dropped scraps of nesting materials, lay the King of the world.
So pure and perfect, that soft-skinned, angelic infant amidst the hay and the dirt and the smell and the dust and his mommy’s stress after the labor-ridden donkey ride. That’s beautiful- that’s grace- that’s God.
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