Beauty in the Barrenness

Warmer-than-normal temperatures, rain, and overcast skies have been the typical weather pattern this winter. A few light snows brightened up the dreary scenery, but they melted within a few hours.

I miss seeing the beauty of sunlight falling over the snow-covered mountain landscape. And while I don’t mind the winter being warmer, I long to see the woods dressed in a dazzling display of ice-frosted trees. I miss how the snow illuminates dark and dreary nights. I miss the quietness that falls over the mountainside when the ground is blanketed with snow.

It’s hard to see any beauty when everything appears so drab. However, I have noticed an abundance of cardinals this year. Their red plumage stands out against the barren landscape. It’s impossible not to notice them sprinkled throughout the brown trees and brush.

Seeing how much the colorful cardinals stand out makes me think about how we, as Christians, are supposed to represent the light of Christ in a dark world.  Do we stand out boldly like the cardinals or do we simply blend in with the darkness?

So often I blend in, especially when my personal environment isn’t very bright, and I’m going through difficult situations. I tend to grumble and complain like everyone else. I think thoughts I shouldn’t. I allow discouragement to obscure my vision of the beautiful things surrounding me each day.

It can be difficult to see anything good during the dark seasons in life, but there’s always beauty if we look for it. Focusing only on the dreary stuff can make it impossible to see things in a positive light. When we begin to look for the beauty in life, regardless of our circumstances, it will help us get through those seasons when life doesn’t make sense.

A few of the lovely things I’ve experienced in my life recently are:

  • A grandchild’s sweet smile and tiny hand grasping mine.
  • A rainbow after a winter storm.
  • The warmth of a cup of tea in my hand on a chilly morning.
  • A powerful sermon at church.
  • The deer in my backyard
  • The birds at my feeders.
  • A moonlit sky.
  • An unexpected letter from an old friend.
  • The pleasure of reading a book I can’t put down.
  • The smell of homemade soup simmering on the stove.
  • Laughing with by best friend over something only the two of us would understand.

Just as the cardinals add brightness to the dull-looking mountain landscape, a positive and joyful attitude will make us stand out as the light of Christ in a dark and troubled world.  A joyful and gracious spirit is contagious and can inspire others to seek the beautiful things in life.

Are you standing out or blending in with the darkness? What can you do today to stand out and shine as the light of Christ?


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