We all seek beauty and as we age we may find it to be more and more elusive. We don’t look or feel as lithe and lean as once did. Lithe, by the way, is defined as thin, supple and graceful. (Ok, I was never lithe and lean) Maybe you don’t feel attractive anymore searching endlessly for the fountain of youth where you believe beauty resides. You may be working so hard to arrive at that destination. But we are sold a lie that youngness is where beauty lives. Not so!
Still our perception of beauty is a very personal thing. What I see as beautiful you may not. I remember thinking my great Aunt Katie was the epitome of mature female beauty, tall and graceful with her gorgeous gray hair perfectly coiffed in a French roll in back. I believed her to be stunning, a truly beautiful woman. I used to imagine what she may have looked like with her hair down and flowing around her shoulders. As a young girl I thought of her as very beautiful even though I never really knew her well.
One of the main reasons we feel outward beauty is so important is because it is the first thing we notice about someone and often it may be the only thing we see. It’s our first impression. Yet that beauty is all external. And sometimes a physically gorgeous person suddenly doesn’t look so gorgeous after they open their mouth and start to talk. Our first impression shifts and instantly their beauty fades.
“But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart.” Matthew 15:18
Still there is another type of beauty, one much more rich and meaningful and truly more attractive. Have you ever been in a room where a certain person radiates inner beauty drawing people like a magnet? Nothing on the outside can compare.
“What matters is not your outer appearance-the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes –but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind God delights in.” 1 Peter
God looks for beauty in our hearts.
“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” 1 Samuel 16:7
So you see being older is not at all a detriment to the beauty the Lord looks for! Yay!
This time of year we see so many beautiful images of Christmas, especially of those Currier n Ives or Victorian Christmases of long ago. There’s even a Facebook group called Christmas Memories and indeed some scenes are absolutely splendid, a feast for the eyes. Everyone wants a white Christmas when everything looks so crisp and clean-but just for the one day, thank you very much. Or people long for the simple Christmas of the Walton’s Homecoming where the poor were served thanks to Charlie Snead and ultimately no one was missing around the dinner table on Christmas Day. We like to think everyone we know who tends to be touchy or grouchy will be visited by heavenly beings and undergo a radical personality transformation like Ebenezer Scrooge, George Bailey or even the Grinch.
Our perfect vision of our beautiful Christmas lives in our mind and in real time it may not play out just as we dream it. So is the beauty of Christmas just an illusion, a fantasy, something we hope for but never seem to achieve?
Not at all! Take note or take part in all the extraordinary generosity and kindness around you. Feel the beauty. It is palpable.
Indeed beauty feeds our soul- a stunning scene, a baby, a tree, a piece of art or music, majestic power in nature, a kindness, courage, a display of love, a heart of mercy and grace and soooo much more. Our precious world is full of beauty if we just look around!
Beauty revives our Hope. There is even beauty in suffering so take heart Dear Friend if that is you this Christmas. Actually I think we are longing to see beauty these days. We crave it. We hunt for it.
So where does real authentic beauty live? Look into the manger. Look at Jesus! He is where beauty lives because He is Beauty!
Merry Beautiful Christmas !