Thursday, December 27, 2012

I Spy Beauty...

a weekly (sometimes) post of beauty seen, heard or discovered
It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold:
"Peace on the earth, goodwill to men
From heavens all gracious King!"
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels, to hear them sing

O ye beneath life's crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps so slow;
Look now, for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;
Oh rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels, hear them sing
"Peace on earth, goodwill to men
From heavens all gracious King!"
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels, hear them sing
Sing - Sing - Sing - Sing

Still through the broken skies they come,
With peaceful wings unfurled;
And still their heavenly music floats
O'er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever o'er Babel sounds
The blessed angels, the blessed angels sing.
It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
Edmund Hamilton Sears
Arrangement by Sara Groves

I'm not a big fan of Christmas. More often than not, this time of year brings feelings of anxiety, stress, loneliness, dysfunction and despondency. I know I am not alone in this. So usually by this time (two days after Christmas), having survived disappointments or unmet expectations, the obligations, the hype and stress of preparations, I finally begin to rest and try to see clearly again; to reflect. 

Don't get me wrong, I have some beautiful memories of Christmas.... celebrating in Africa as a child with a Wattle tree as our 'Christmas tree'; watching my two nephews experience their first Christmases; learning and singing carols with my Grandma; baking sweet treats for family and friends.

The old hymn It Came Upon A Midnight Clear has become a special song the last two Christmases. This time last year I was still coming out of the darkest, bleakest period of my life.... I was still struggling to make sense of the pain and difficulty life had dealt me. In amongst this, I heard Sara Groves 'O Holy Night Prison Show'. It was unusual, but absolutely stunning and moving. The first time I listened I had tears in my eyes.... especially when she started to introduce this hymn. Sara spoke to a crowd of women in prison and reminded them that the angels didn't just come once thousands of years ago, but come everyday, with the same message of peace, hope and love for ALL of us. I had never really taken much notice of the promise the words contained. But as she begun singing the second verse, I knew this hymn was for me.

Despite my difficulties celebrating Christmas, I am reminded that it is the best time of year to celebrate the grace and hope that come through Jesus. It is precisely into the difficulty that Jesus comes.... to redeem the chaos, to make something beautiful out of the mess. We might be weary and our steps may be painful, but we can rest it the joy of knowing that all that pain can be redeemed so that we can sing with the angels as well.

If you want to try and redeem Christmas out of the chaos, take some time out to listen to this song and marvel in the beauty of Gods promises to us....

(you can hear a copy of the song here, just ignore the random images.)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

I Spy Beauty...

a weekly (sometimes) post of beauty seen, heard or discovered

I am finally free of uni work and very excited about getting back into blogging. For a little taste, my latest I Spy Beauty... is a song I heard for the first time a few weeks back, in the middle of absolute chaos and overwhelming stress.


By Matthew Mayfield 
withered and gold–
an autumn leaf blows
need you more proof….
of the treasures in the Fallen
and the retreat to youth
a little more grace
a little less haste….
nature needs room
she’s gotta whisper the secrets
that put you back in bloom
cus’ you’re alive….alive….alive…
will you receive
that i believe
you’re beautiful
will you receive
that i can see
you’re beautiful
how did i fall, how did i run dry?
how did i lose, how did i lie?
i’m gonna let you down,
let you down with truth
the echo of my whispers
–meaningless to you
but i wanna figure this out,
figure this out…so you
can finally hear the angels
screaming back at you…

I've always struggled to know my own worth. And I've often needed "more proof.../of treasures in the Fallen". When I'm especially vulnerable- such as stressed out of my brain with finishing a degree- I find it even harder to hear the voice that calls out to me, and all of us, telling us we're a beautiful.

This was a particularly poignant reminder that no matter whether I finish a degree or find a lifelong partner or make it as a writer.... I am beautiful. So are you!