Sunday, December 14, 2014

Seeing Through

At Christmas, we pull out things we don't see the rest of the year, little gifts from old friends, ornaments made by children, Christmas houses or wreaths or candles or stockings that mean nothing to another family. But to our family? They are priceless. They're part of a personal family story that only we know. Bought when we were poorer, and worn from years of use and many children, they look tattered and loved. I cradle each one before placing it in its spot.
Because I taught school and piano lessons, I received many little Christmas gifts. Somebody gave me this heavy glass ornament. I always hang it in a window. It's not really my style, but I've grown to like it. I've had it about 20 years. It's hung in windows in Iowa, Alabama, Massachusetts, and North Carolina. Why do we lug these things around with us, from house to house?
These silly little treasures oddly become the permanent things in our lives, a strange continuity. Homes, friends, jobs, churches may change and be lost, but at Christmas we pull out the same familiar decorations.
And through that window you see out, into the world, but you also see back, into the reflection, into the past, and the flickering flames of our advent candles. Only two were lit, but the glass doubled the image. Doesn't the past do the same? Over the years, small events are kept and rehearsed, brought out like faded ornaments. Gradually they are made so heavy, so weighty with significance -- more so than we realized at the time. Which friend will keep in touch? Which small event will your remember as the defining moment of an entire year?

Life consists of layers upon layers. Eventually they blend into a whole, but during the harried years, the busy years, we can't see the bigger picture. What do you see below?
Water. Leaves. An algae-covered rope. The dock. Clouds. Ripples. What is reflection? What is submerged?
And there, in the middle of it all, is me, peering at myself and everything else, trying to make sense of it.
It's the third Sunday of Advent. Anna is home from college now snuggled under comfy blankets on the couch, drinking tea, watching fun shows, sleeping twelve hours at night. Resting from her labors. Peter will be home soon. I'm happy to have these years -- these very years. I know they won't last much longer. May God give us all perspicuity as we need to puzzle out our lives and find His beauty there.

6 comments:

  1. Mk, such a beautiful reflection!! X

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  2. Oh, yes. These years of couch snuggles and tea marathons are the BEST!

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  3. Glad you have the chance to spend time with your precious kiddos. :)

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  4. Lovely. The simplicity of life translates into the beauty of life.

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  5. That is truly an interesting photo and you've used it well to illustrate your meditation - thanks, Mary Kathryn!

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  6. thanks to you, I now know what the doctrine of the perspicuity of Scripture means ;) I had to look up perspicuity!
    I love how you describe things as becoming heavy with time, weighty with significance.
    Blessings to you, Deborah

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