I work in a small office in the small town of Louisville, Colorado. Every day, at my lunch hour, I stroll through its orderly streets or wander its scenic pathways through the open spaces.
Last week, during my amble, I noticed a single blue ornament, hanging from the bare limbs of tree in the front of a small house.
Undeterred that it was more than 2 months past Christmas time, whenever ornaments on outdoor trees are both prevalent and acceptable, it glowed in the sunlight, bold and bright.
Maybe someone had forgotten to pack up this lonely blue ornament in the frenzy of cleaning up bigger, more extravagant Christmas paraphernalia.
Or, perhaps, they left it on purpose. To reflect the light on a sunny day. To stand out among the leaf-less branches surrounding it. To remind passersby of the hope that Christmas brings.
The ornament was remarkable in an unobtrusive way.
It made me pause to think.
In Scripture, again and again, average people surface in above-average ways. John the Baptist was the “burning and shining light”, declaring the way to the coming Messiah. A young boy emerged from a crowd, lunch in tow, to give it to Jesus Who fed 5,000 people with this gift. Lydia, a business woman, converts to Christianity and starts a house church in her pagan city.
These people deemed to be different. They bucked traditions and systems. They did and said things that society condemned, but God praised. They charged forward, fueled by hope and passion, committed to the belief that God was doing a work bigger and more profound than they ever imagined.
They stuck out….and were okay with it.
As I enter another season of Lent, where I’m giving up sweets and Starbuck’s drinks, (yes, yes, I know, tough times), I’m ready for a time of contemplation. I am struck with the thought of how to be a blue ornament. How do I stand out in a world that wants me to blend in? How do I stick up for my faith whenever having faith isn’t exactly popular? And how do I stick up and stand out without being brash and judgmental and aggressive?
I don’t know the full answers to these questions. Nor do I expect to capture them during the next 40 days. Still, I’m pondering each one on my daily walks, and I’m coming up with a list of “maybe’s”:
- Maybe I can sit in acceptance of traffic instead of being angry at other drivers.
- Maybe I can respond in kindness to my family in the evening when we are all tired and hungry and crabby, and someone says something that hurts my feelings.
- Maybe I can smile in the face of adversity, be patient while waiting, and hopeful despite chaos.
- Maybe I can listen more, talk less.
- Maybe I can see others for who they are, instead of who I want them to be.
- Maybe I can take a deep breath and realize that God is doing a great job running the Universe and I need to trust Him.
Maybe, maybe, maybe.
The possibilities have only just begun to come to me.
The blue ornament still hangs on its branch, speaking to me.