growing greener, bolder
hint of apricot sweetness
burst of beginning light-
clouds and water reflect
Grace in this new day.
― C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew
I was reminded of these words when I looked out my bedroom window this morning and reached for my camera. What I saw was not what I usually see in early morning light. I had not traveled elsewhere or changed my perspective in any way. But what I saw depended on what I knew as a person. It also depended on my imagination.
I knew that our weather had changed dramatically overnight and what I saw was thick ice covering these windows on the north side of our home. That is unusual for us on the South Texas Gulf Coast so I took a photo through the ice. When I looked at the pictures, I saw an impressionist’s rendition of a mountain range covered in snow!
What do you see?
Three years ago, I posted thoughts about thresholds. I did not know in early January 2015 that before the year ended we would be getting ready to sell that home and move to share a home with our youngest son and his wife and daughter. And none of us knew then that a baby boy would soon join us in our new home. That post can be viewed in the link at the bottom of this page.
We have been in our new home for a year and a half now. I photographed doorways in this house. When I compared them to the post in 2015, I smiled (OK, a tear as well) because of the similarities. Our favorite art hangs on new walls. Our family photos grace a new spot, with a new family member included. I realized that I can say the same words with confidence today, Epiphany, January 6, 2018. .
The day of Epiphany is the 12th day of Christmas, a day for remembering the visit of the Magi to the home of Joseph, Mary, and the infant Jesus. This was a time of discovery, a time of finding what they had been seeking. Although we are not told how they lived out their discovery, only that they returned by a different way, I like to believe that part of that “different” way was not only to avoid Herod, but because they were beginning a new journey of change. They had come to, and crossed a threshold.
As I enter the new year, I, too, am crossing a threshold. I am moving from one place in my life to another. I do not always know where my steps take me, but I can trust that light will be given me for the way.
Blessing the Threshold
has been waiting for you
for a long time.
While you have been
making your way here
this blessing has been
biding its time
This blessing has been
polishing the door
oiling the hinges
sweeping the steps
in the windows.
This blessing has been
setting the table
as it hums a tune
from an old song
a spiraling road
All this time
it has kept an eye
on the horizon,
hardly aware of how
it was leaning itself
in your direction.
And now that
you are here
can hardly believe
its good fortune
that you have finally arrived,
that it can drop everything
to fling its arms wide
to you, crying
– Jan Richardson
Jan L. Richardson is an artist, writer, and ordained minister in the United Methodist Church.
Link to January 6, 2015 post:
In these days between Christmas Day and the ending of the year, I read again and again the story. I read it in Luke. I read it in dear messages from friends as I look through our stack of Christmas cards. I read it in the children’s Christmas books I read to my granddaughter. And I read it in poetry. I am glad for these quieter days, colder now so I want to stay inside. It is still Christmas.
GK Chesterton (1874–1936)
The House of Christmas
There fared a mother driven forth
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.
The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.
For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay on their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done.
Here we have battle and blazing eyes,
And chance and honour and high surprise,
But our homes are under miraculous skies
Where the yule tale was begun.
A Child in a foul stable,
Where the beasts feed and foam;
Only where He was homeless
Are you and I at home;
We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost – how long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky’s dome.
This world is wild as an old wives’ tale,
And strange the plain things are,
The earth is enough and the air is enough
For our wonder and our war;
But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings
And our peace is put in impossible things
Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings
Round an incredible star.
To an open house in the evening
Home shall men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.
When I was a little girl, I thought Christmas should always be on a Sunday. It seemed right to go to church for Christmas, to sing carols, to hear “Merry Christmas” from friends who gathered there. For the last 25 years, we have loved being in a church that celebrates Advent and also always has a Christmas eve communion and candle service. Any day of the week Christmas comes, the gift of Christ’s coming burns in my heart beyond all the gathering and cooking and gifting. This year the calendar said Christmas Eve on Sunday, timing I loved. Today is the 26th. It is quiet. I see some Christmas trees already out for trash and some are already removing lights and decorations.
I will keep Christmas. Decorations and lights will stay for awhile, but I will keep Christmas. The spark that is lit with the candles and carols must light something within me that stays. It will never be something I can clear away and put in a box. So like Mary, I treasure the gift and mystery of Christ’s coming – my Christmas ponders.
But Mary treasured up all these words and pondered them in her heart” Luke 2:19