(Originally published Saturday, December 31, 2005)
I have been doing a bit of ranting lately … about the horrors of the death penalty, about the scandal of an administration that is reluctant to expressly disavow torture, about the shortsighted greed that would rather despoil an untouched wilderness than spend the time and money to develop alternative energy sources or to find ways to use our present energy resources more efficiently.
But I want to end the year on a positive note! Because in spite of all its ills and all our failings, the world in which we live is filled with much that is beautiful, most of it brought into being by the God who brought the universe into being, but some of it brought into being by us, creatures made to be like God. We are very much like God when we are making beauty. In just these last few days I have had the privilege of enjoying great beauty …
… the beauty of a sanctuary lighted by a hundred handheld candles and filled with the sound of a hundred voices singing of the dawn of redeeming grace.
… the beauty of the aroma of poached pears, a dish new to me prepared by our eldest son.
… the beauty of language, powerful and intimate, words describing feelings, words describing grief, words crafted by Joan Didion to document and make sense of a year of grieving the sudden death of her husband, beautiful because even words of grief reveal the wonder and mystery and majesty of human love.
… the beauty of giving gifts and receiving gifts when the one giving and the one receiving both know, and know each other know, that it isn’t about the gift!
We are at our best when we are making beauty. When we praise beauty and preserve beauty and especially when we make beauty, we show ourselves to be true children of the God who delights in beauty …