Of Garland and Bows

Well, Christmas time is here again. Time for garland and bows, conifer trees and mistletoes. Assorted ornaments and wreaths, manger scenes and scented candles. Ah, yes, the beauty if this season cannot be beat.

Over the past few days my neighbors have been hanging decorations on their homes, gradually bringing drab brown and cream into states of purple and green. Yesterday, my mother put up her annual Christmas tree, garnished in humble splendor. Christmas trees are really beautiful creatures. They always give me a few minor shivers. Good shivers, not those kind you get when watching the ghost hunter shows on TV. I love to walk around shopping centers each Christmas season and just admire the beauty everywhere.

Christmas has become about art in many ways. Someone with an eye for such things matched these colors together and determined where they should go. The ladies who decorate our church every year are artists. Maybe they know it. Maybe not! But they are. The artist side of me exults at the sights and sounds of Christmas. The beauty and majesty are befitting the holy season. Sometimes people go overboard, granted, but the fact that they threw something on their houses and yards says that they want beauty, too. (They just consider ugly things to be beautiful, that’s all. And can you argue with such heart?)

Beauty. I’ve heard it said that the human soul longs for at least three things: goodness, truth and beauty. I agree. Every soul longs for beauty in some way and to some degree. Maybe it has something to do with the first two. We want beauty because it reminds us of goodness and truth. Even deeper, we want beauty because beautiful things remind us of our good and true Creator. But that’s very subconscious for most people.

When we sense things as beautiful, we sense a certain “rightness” or “goodness” in that beautiful thing. Red and green look SO amazing together, even better when accompanied by white lights. Green garland looks so perfect against stone columns or black wrought iron fences. Red bows look majestic on green garland. Black soot looks hideous inside my fireplace but when it’s applied to the facade of ancient stone buildings in Europe, it transforms them into masterpieces of shading and shadow. Add garland and bows and…

“Tis the season to be jolly,” the old songs says. Why? Because you’ve decked the halls with boughs of holly.

Let beauty reign.