This seems to be the season of sparkles. Years ago, when I worked at Hallmark Cards, artists would groan when an assignment came to design a card with glitter, which seemed, at that time, so uncool. It appears to be quite in vogue this year, however, and is applied generously to a wide variety of cards. Now we find glitter everywhere, as it spreads from the cards to the table and to our hands, and from there, often to our clothes, and to Barley's hair, and beyond. Don and Tava and I sat at the kitchen table the other night, and while Don engrossed us with stories from his year in Vietnam, glitter sparkled on his face.
I love those sparkles that come on the inside, too, that sparkly feeling that washes over you, sometimes when you least expect it, that says, "this is Christmas". This year, those sparkles started for me when I was at my desk working and listening to James Taylor at Christmas, and they came again at the Christmas eve service at our small country church. The pastor read the familiar story from the gospel of Luke about God coming to earth in the form of a baby. In the dim candlelight, we shared communion as a reminder of why He came, to give His life so we could fully live.
In the wee hours of Christmas morning, I got up to put our Christmas stew in the crock pot. Barley came padding in softly from the bedroom, so I plugged in the Christmas tree lights and petted him for a few quiet moments while we both enjoyed the sparkles. The music played again, this time in my head:
What then can I give Him, empty as I am?
If I were a shepherd I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man, I would do my part;
What then can I give Him? I must give my heart.
James Taylor - In the Bleak Midwinter