“Joy to the world! The Lord is come
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing”
We wait for our Savior’s second coming.
We rejoice in his first.
We cling to hope.
We practice love.
We live in joy.
A couple of months ago, my kids and I studied Van Gogh’s, A Starry Night. We were intentional about noticing the colors, lines, counting how many stars there were, the big image and the tiny details. After silently observing for 5 minutes we turned the picture over and each shared what we remembered from our mind’s eye. Ruby, my 5 year old, recalled that there was a clock factory (“Was that a clock factory, mom?”), there were lots of suns, a moon, a big tree and hills. Sophie, the 6 year old, said she saw lots of yellow dots, a moon in front of the sun, lots of houses, a big tree, hay bales (this must have been left over from just studying Monet’s Haystacks), the wind, and that the colors were bright and dark. Addie, my oldest shared that there were 11 stars, a moon, a tall tree, a church, a tiny town, lots of blue and yellow and many lines. I love starting from the youngest and going to the oldest and hearing the details they remember from a painting. It amazes me what they can recall! When it was my turn, I was able to share my impression of the painting and of how large Van Gogh made the sky in comparison to the rest of the tiny town. Many of the houses were lit up and we wondered “What were the people doing in there?” The tiny church was proudly standing amidst the tiny houses. But the vastness and brightness of the starry sky was not to be missed. It was the focal point and the rest was in the distance. I shared with the girls how tiny we really are in comparison to the sky. We are but a speck of dust compared to the sky. “Like glitter, mom?”, asked Addie. Yes, well I suppose glitter is more beautiful than dust. We can be glitter.
I was at a point where I was feeling very distant from all that is me. Distant from my calling to be a stay at home, homeschooling momma. Distant from my calling to bring home our daughter from Africa. Distant from my God who created the vast sky and starry nights. Like a tiny speck of glitter who was not shining so brightly but would rather crawl in bed on that dark and dreary day.
Van Gogh’s past is curious. He didn’t know what he wanted to be when he grew up. He couldn’t find the right fit. He tried first to sell art at a gallery, then went on to be a teacher, then a bookshop owner, a preacher and finally an artist. As a preacher he helped many of the poor in his community. The plight of the poor impacted him so dearly that when he became an artist the images of the poor stuck with him. He began painting what he had experienced. The paintings were all made with dark, dreary colors to give the onlooker the impression that for these people, their days were dark, dreary and oppressive. The paintings depicted them hard at work or eating a meager offering of what potatoes they could scrounge up. A few years later, Van Gogh found bright colors and from them on his art reflected his new mood.
Many days I wish a change of mood would be as easy as a new color palette. Change from the dark dreary colors into the light, bright and whimsical.
“In this world you will have trouble…
(dark, dreary colors) “but take heart, for I have overcome the world!” (bright, light and whimsical)
I envision what I would like my days to look like, what my passions should be, my goals, focus and the beat of my heart. The beat seems to of gotten off kilter somewhere along the way. Right now the distance from where I used to be to where I am now seems like a canyon. How do I get back on beat? I need a bridge.
“Lord, I am feeling very alone today. Very tired, sad and distant from everyone I love and the things I am passionate about. Even you. God, I’m not sure when the heartbeat of my life got off track, but I know that you are the only one who help me get refocused. God, what are your burdens for me? Would you help me to lean in and take refuge in your shadow and to find strength in your power? I feel so weak today and so small. Like a speck of dust not even shiny enough to be glitter. I want to do, but I know all you ask of me is to Be. So today, help me to sit and Be in your presence. Help me to be refueled by your strength and help my heart and yours to beat as one again.”
Post-holiday winter months can definitely be a lonely time for many people. A time when distance feels very large between family and heartache over a missing loved one is magnified. But there is hope. We are called to be people of joy. People who shine like glitter bridging the distance.
How do you get yourself out of the dreary mindset and turn your attention to others who are experiencing a lonely time? What is something you can do FOR others the long days of winter to remind them of the hope we have in Jesus?
Don’t forget… we have HOPE.. for he has overcome the world!
Shake a little bit of sparkle in other’s lives this week.