Christmas Surprise

D

’Twas the weekend before Christmas and I was on hospital call.
This weekend is known for “when you think you’ve seen and heard it all” and suddenly there’s another outlandish story. It’s the weekend notorious for the unexpected.
Or rather …

It’s the weekend of expectation. And as part of the call team I prepared myself for any surprise.

But it was not what I anticipated. No nightmarish awakening middle-of-the-night-jump-out-of-bed-race-to-the hospital. We worked hard but no 14-hours-straight-in-a-row-from-the middle-of-the-night-into-day. And I got to sleep all three nights. For the call weekend before Christmas it was pretty routine and, for lack of a better term—kinda boring mundane.

No surprises at all.

D

Wait. What did I just say? Mundane?
How can I speak so bland for what happened—or rather what did not happen
this weekend before Christmas? A weekend like this before Christmas never happens in my universe. How did I miss the miracle and dare to call it mundane?

How many miracles do we miss for mere expectation of other things?

Humming Christmas carols during the commute home I was lost in thought Sunday night as I pulled in the driveway. Nudging the car door open, I could not help but peer skyward. And I lost my breath. There it was.

My surprise.

A quick phone pic but I think you get the idea.

Gazing spellbound as clouds danced, swirling around the moon, I was wonderstruck. I sat in awe for a moment, taking it all in. The majesty of God. And I wondered …

What does earth look like down here from up there at Christmas-time?

Up there, amid blankets of swirling clouds and heavenly lights, stars glimmer and shimmer. But what about down here?
Does heaven gasp as the world wraps itself in Christmas—a spinning ornament studded with lights, glitter, and tinsel—another majesty of sorts—glistening from the most tasteful decor to the gaudy, even overdone? Or simple Charley Brown’s, from rich to poor, overdoing everything from lights to food to drink to family to travel to lavish spending?

It’s a celebration like no other. Smiling, I lugged myself in the door, feeling light as a feather.

Many said I got lucky this weekend. But it was not luck. It was so much more, or rather … so much less. Since much did not happen, I received what is nearly absent during Christmas—REST. I needed rest. Rest for the next night.

One of the most thrilling nights of the yearCandlelight Christmas Eve.

I

This is where I sing. A church filled with people from over eighty countries and all ages. And not just any music.

An orchestra accompanied by a glorious, ancient instrument—a grand organ with pipes from floor to ceiling, horns jutting from the walls. The form casts a breathtaking shadow for all who enter.

Walls of glass echo some of the most magnificent sounds ever heard.
For some it’s all about the music—multi-cultural and multi-generational, classics and contemporary. It is joyous, reverent, energetic, fun.

In the choir loft I have the best seat in the house. I get to feel the bass rumble beneath my feet, hear the horns lift, savor orchestral strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion surrounding sound—see the sanctuary fill with hearts full … or empty … or weary … or broken.

Children’s faces fill with wonder. Babies fuss. Families filling rows. For some people, it’s the first time they’ve entered a church for years. For others, it’s the only time of the year they come. And for some, they have never been at all.

But for all the sounds, lights, and rumbles it is long, hard, exhausting work.
Multiple services, focus, breathing, posture, presentation. I recall months of long practices, memorizing every word, note, count, and dynamic, climbing up and down to the choir room buried deep below to loft above, and I think—rest.

Yes, I needed rest for this night of all nights. To give the very best of myself to everyone. And to take it all in—majesty.

So we are all here tonight.
And so is He.

I

For tonight holds our greatest surprise. It’s the celebration of the world, as the glimmering earth spins in space, dripping in lavish everything.

As I gazed skyward the other night I imagined this eve—bathed in mysterious, glorious candlelight—inhaling the wonder of it all. Is God upon His throne inhaling the wonder as His creation celebrates the greatest event in all of human history—Emmanuel—God with us?

That miraculous moment when the divine intersected humanity.

Skeptics and unbelievers try with all their might to squelch Him, to destroy Him, to snuff Him out. But try as they might, the world, believers and unbelievers celebrate the mystery.
He cannot be silenced.

Just gaze at the stars above and you will see—night after night. Christmas is always there for you and for me.
You just can’t miss it.

I

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” Psalm 19:1-4

Merry Christmas from my home to yours,
Alexandria

Photos of church by family and friends
All other photos by Alexandria Sage

Referring Article’s:
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/weekly-photo-challenge-surprise/
http://scottamartin.org/2012/10/30/a-story-worth-telling/
http://eof737.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/weekly-photo-challenge-surprise/

Weekly Photo Challenge: My 2012 in Pictures

Advertisements

Love = Infinity + Beyond… | Weekly Photo Challenge: Geometry

“Love does not consist in gazing at each other
but at looking together in the same direction.”

~ Unknown

This is my second interpretation for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Geometry theme.

Can love be bound by lines, shapes, or circles? Mmm … maybe. Isn’t it two souls bound together toward a common purpose, a shared existence, despite the shapes, lines, and hairpin turns of life?

And let’s not forget—though love defies science, isn’t it a formula with a slight touch of chemistry?

Just one “angle” and just for fun,
Alexandria

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/weekly-photo-challenge-geometry/

The Kaleidoscope Collide

I wonder if flowers could talk or had human emotion or had the ability to reason, would they dwell in prejudice against the color of another flower? Would they judge and resent, even hate one another because of the color of their petals? And not just the color that separates them, but the different varieties?

The hydrangea differs due to differing acidity. The daisies in the photo below have colors that are man-induced. These colors do not naturally occur in nature. They were “created”. Not the flowers but the colors. Why did someone do this? Doesn’t it add to their brilliance, bring a smile to our face, and increase our joy?

Aren’t we awestruck and delighted by the very nature of their differences? Their color and composition is completely at the mercy of their maker. They cannot help what color they are. But do we complain? Do we harbor resentment because of the multitude of color?

Then why do we do this with the greatest stain on humanity?
All of us know deep within our hearts that racism is wrong. Yet, we are all racist. All of us. Just admit it. It was taught and modeled before us. Children are not born racist. They are taught racism.

It’s okay to admit it but we must go further. We must fight it. We must fight it within ourselves and we must fight it outwardly. But how is this done?

Think of the recent Olympics. For a wondrous moment every nation was at peace. We watched the very best athletes parade into the stadium and what a sight it was! Did it not take your breath away to see the vast array of different cultures, different colors both in costume and skin?

Great Britain (Team GB) - Parade of Nations - ...

Did any of us have a racist or prejudiced bone in our body during those wondrous seventeen days? I theorize the Creator’s original intent may have been what we witnessed at the Olympics. Why would He be so risky as to create his image-bearers in different colors? Perhaps it was meant to bring joy, to rejoice, to bring color to the world. Just pure joy.
He created everything and said, “It was good.”

So if nature teaches us to appreciate, even delight in the of the myriad of color, can we not do more to appreciate rather than spurn the different skin colors?
After all, it’s all just a matter of a mere .012% melanin.

This is written in response to the Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge titled “A Splash of Color”.
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/weekly-writing-challenge-a-splash-of-color/

This is also a response for the Story Challenge Letter “R” posted on FlickrComments. “R” for Racism.
http://flickrcomments.wordpress.com/2012/10/30/story-challenge-letter-r/

Photo of Olympics 2012 Parade of Nations courtesy of Zemanta.

Weekly Photo Challenge | Silhouette

The Weekly Photo Challenge theme this week is “Silhouette”. Some of you  have seen this already. Forgive me for reposting as I now realize WordPress wants a current post rather than a revision of a previous.

This photo is of a sunset I took in February. Winter is my least favorite season but sunsets like these provide rich arrays of color to remind me that all seasons possess their own beauty. The bare branches allowed a view of the sunset not possible in warm seasons. The crisp air and humidity with slight cloud cover allowed a mixture of hues that danced their way into evening sleep. The graceful curves of the tree branches wove a beautiful pattern as if adorning the sky in a great big hug.

These reminders make the barren season bearable when I am impatient for spring. This one is worth clicking on for a larger view.

Enjoy … again.
Peace,
Alexandria

Here is the Weekly Photo Challenge link for “Silhouette”
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/weekly-photo-challenge-silhouette/

Other interpretations:
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/weekly-photo-challenge-silhouette/
http://hamburgundmeehr.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/weekly-photo-challenge-silhouette/
http://ayearinmyshoes.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/wordpress-photos-challenge-silhouette/

I am entering this as my “best shot of 2012” on the following site:http://flickrcomments.wordpress.com/2012/12/02/your-best-shot-2012/

A Sliver of Joy | Weekly Photo Challenge: Happy

A favorite hang-out | Pink fountain for a good cause. Cheery mums galore.

Favorite weather | Autumn hints, cleansing rain, cloud-break.
Lingering mist.

Favorite time | Post-breakfast desertion. Kids safe at school. Sigh …….

A slice of time,
A shy, favored friend.
A Sliver of Happy.

“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.”
~ Joseph Campbell

“A friend is one to whom you may pour out all the contents of your heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping, and with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.” ~ Unknown

“Find the joy in your life. Laugh hard, laugh long, and laugh loud. There is something that brings joy to each of us. Find out what it is for you and work hard to get more of it.” ~ Stephen Deal

__________________________________________________________________

Referring articles:
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/10/05/weekly-photo-challenge-happy/
vimeo.com/stevedeal
(Twenty minutes on decreasing sadness, increasing joy)
https://thoughtfulpaper.wordpress.com/2012/10/06/weekly-photo-challenge-happy/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Movement | Master the One

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once,
but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

~ Bruce Lee

When I found this quote I wanted a photo that depicted movement in abundance, something to display the persistence and practice required for mastery of a skill. Of course, I looked to the most obvious place–sports. Athletics teach us much about life and I was looking for the sweat, the muscle, the swing, the swoosh. But … nothing came to mind. Until …

Snapping away on my walk I saw this visual. The angle overlapped two massive trees, their branches providing the optical illusion of endless kicking, from right to left. The branches look like a still shot of movement and rhythm.

You and I both know they were not moving but stare at them and they look like planned, precise movement on a grand scale. Perfect visual. Perfect mastery.

Movement.

%d bloggers like this: