Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Let The Earth Be Glad

The rain came in the night... and afterward, the late November wind and chill. Gone are the golden-glory, autumn days that I love but the warmth of our home is inviting and comforting. As we go about town on holiday errands, I notice there are Christmas trees for sale at the farmer's market. Holiday errands?! Already?! The children relish a few days out of school. So do I. At home, I cook... we're hosting for Thanksgiving this year... and I savor, as I do every year, the words that capture it all:
In November, the smell of food is different. It is an orange smell. A squash and a pumpkin smell. It tastes like cinnamon and can fill up a house in the morning, can pull everyone from bed in a fog. Food is better in November than any other time of the year. 
In November, people are good to each other. They carry pies to each other's homes and talk by crackling woodstoves, sipping mellow cider. 
They travel very far on a special day just to share a meal with one another and to give thanks for their many blessings -- for the food on their table and the babies in their arms. 
And then they travel back home. 
In November, at winter's gate, the stars are brittle. The sun is a sometime friend. And the world has tucked her children in, with a kiss on their heads, till spring.
from In November by Cynthia Rylant
The house is filled with delicious, orange-y smells. Contemplating simple Christmas gift ideas for teachers one day last week, I even dried orange slices in the oven... a sweet, delicate fragrance. And, there are sweet things... pie! cake!... to share with others. And the fire will crackle as we cuddle our new nephew/cousin. And we will enjoy a meal and we will give thanks for our blessings.

But this year I see hearts that ache, too. I'm reminded that there is an artist, The Artist, creating a bigger and more glorious picture than I can ever imagine. And that picture, full of blessings, yes bountiful blessings, also captures brokeness... broken relationships, broken bodies, broken people, broken lives... and somehow, some way He'll use it for His glory. I don't understand it, but I trust.

And so, I close with two thoughts that have been echoing through my heart in recent weeks as I've contemplated God's bountiful mercy and grace on broken people living in a broken place...

Earth should be a temple filled with the songs of grateful saints,
and every day should be a censor smoking with the sweet incense of thanksgiving.
from Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

This is my Father’s world, should my heart be ever sad?
The Lord is King—let the heavens ring. God reigns—let the earth be glad.
from the hymn "This Is My Father's World" by Maltbie D. Babcock

On this day of thanks, and always, may a grateful song be ever on your lips. For there are indeed bountiful blessings, and there is brokeness, but... God reigns! Let the earth, and your heart, be glad!