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He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He created them male and female. Fill Earth! Take charge!
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In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. Saint Francis of Assisi was a little man who lived in a little town in the Italian countryside in the 13th Century, but he quickly became famous as a little Christ. He lived out for us the pattern of a life of Christ. All creatures of our God and King, Lift up your voice and with us sing, Alleluia! Thou burning sun with golden beam, Thou silver moon with softer gleam! Refrain: O praise Him! O praise Him! Thou rising moon, in praise rejoice, Ye lights of evening, find a voice! Thou flowing water, pure and clear, Make music for thy Lord to hear, O praise Him!
Thou fire so masterful and bright, That givest man both warmth and light. And all ye men of tender heart, Forgiving others, take your part, O praise Him! Ye who long pain and sorrow bear, Praise God and on Him cast your care! By Saint Francis of Assisi in Paraphrased by William H. Draper in God is the Father of all living things and we are all siblings. It is not just we, human beings, who wait for salvation in the midst of our suffering; all of creation groans and moans with us longing to reach its full freedom.
And yeah, sometimes I make my dog wear a hat too. Recently, I took to Instagram again to find out if there is such a thing as snow tire attachments for tennis shoes. Something to put on my footwear that would stop me from slip-sliding all over the snowy trail. As we walk, we breathe in the cold air and quiet. We look at the slow-to-freeze-over lake, and the geese who cram onto the one open strip of water left.
We peek in living room windows at decorated trees and dogs barking at the windows as we walk by. Touches of holiday cheer placed solely for their beauty. But the passerby on the trail will see. Our hearts will be brightened. And for whoever hung the wreath and lights, that thought was enough. One good deed. One act of going out of their way.
And because of it, I finish every walk grinning. God too leaves little traces of beauty on our trails, just waiting to be noticed. He sends cardinals to bring pops of red into cold grey days. He offers beaming children to remind us of the joy in this season when that very season may be painful for us. He inspires the heart of someone to pay for the car behind them at Starbucks.
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A young unwed mama placing her hours-old baby in a manger. Heaven breaking through while donkeys and sheep look on. The mess of childbirth mingled with straw and holiness.
As it is, childbirth is about as far as you can get from glamorous. Add in a stable, a young couple far from home and without a place to stay, and shepherds following a star? Sounds pretty messy. God is a pro at making beauty from our messes, at mixing together holiness and ordinary, at surprising us with good things just when we least expect them. And God does it for our joy. So hang that wreath on the side garage. Hang lights on a tree in the backyard.
Pay for the coffee order behind you. Do a few good deeds no one will ever give you credit for. Keep your eyes open for the wonder God speaks into our everyday ordinary. Anna is the in courage Digital Content Manager, lives in Minnesota with her husband and three kids, and writes in the cracks of her day.
She loves a good book and a great latte. Anna is the author of several devotionals for women, and writes at AnnaRendell.
Signs of God’s Beauty in the Natural World
Thanks be to God He is not a list-driven Enneagram 3! Thanks for such a fun comment! Anna, Taking our almost 11 year old beagle on walks in the summer is like dragging a ball and chain through the sauna of heat and humidity that is summer in the south, but this time of year, their is a jaunt in his step and in mine too. Give me fall and winter. I can always put layers on, but in the summer there are only so many layers you can take off and remain decent.
I love watching the birds come to my feeder. I know the differences between the bright red male cardinals…. So glad God brings us the awe inspiring in that which is often overlooked. Good for you in your persistence in walking. Love the doggie hat lol. Blessings, Bev xx. This is wonderful! Thank you!
I have been determined to get in a better Christmas spirit, as our long term struggles seem to linger longer. While reading I envisioned myself back in the mountains taking a winter hike. It to made my blood pressure drop and my heart rate race. I was told by my Grandfather that if I ever doubted the existence of our Lord to just look up.
He was everywhere. I have invited women I do not know for coffee in my town! I do hope they come! If not, worst case, I enjoy a cup of coffee alone.
Captured by God’s Beauty
Best case, I have good company! Wish me luck! Not sure of the etiquette on these threads, but Andrea, I wish you luck and am praying for your coffee! Andrea, What wonderful wise words shared by your Grandfather. I hope that all goes well with your coffee date. Merry Christmas,. How awesome that even in your struggles you are persevering and doing new things! May the Lord sustain you and bless you.
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How did your coffee get together go? It went well! The first one I had 5 women show up. It was great! I did it again last weekend and one lady came.
It was great too. We ended up talking to a couple mom and daughters. The daughters had just gone to Passion in Atlanta last week. We had a great conversation! I am hoping to to do again this weekend. Thank you for checking on me! I really appreciate the replies!!
Anna, I loved your words. I have been posting daily on Instagram my quest to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. It is a daily reminder that He is with me through all the challenges I face each day. That perspective helps me feed joy instead of fear. Love that Chris. God is so all about the extraordinary in the ordinary. This time of year can be tough on so many levels. We need to search out His beauty.
It is all around us. He is a master at making beauty from ashes. Just take a gander at His birth.