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Monday, December 17, 2012

The Thing of Beauty

The approaching Christmas day has me thinking about one nearly overlooked facet of God’s attributes: His Beauty. The dark of night is twinking bright with colored lights of stars above and homes below. Whatever Christmas may be, we all agree this is a time of beauty so as creatures made in God’s image, we creatively add attractiveness to that which would otherwise be dreary with light and color and sounds and smells and warmth and laughter. Consciously or otherwise, this time of year we reflect outward that which draws us to Him: beauty. Attractiveness.

There is another side to beauty but before we quickly say, “oh, that would ‘ugliness,’” let us first discover where beauty resides and then the source of un-beauty (whatever that is).

I turn to an experiment that recently took place on the streets of New York. If I had not seen this with my own eyes, I, too, would think I had made this up. A small group of “someones” rolled an old upright piano out onto a sidewalk then pointed a camera from the window of a nearby building to capture what happened. The camera recorded people walking by the piano, looking at the piano, looking around, touching the piano, playing the piano. Some plinked with fingers, others found entire tunes. Music filled the air, smiles grew on faces and people left the piano changed people. Some people pushed the piano, tried to move the piano. A car pulled up along the curb and the driver tried to push the piano into the backseat.

The beat up piano sat on the sidewalk all day, drawing people near with their bags and carts, cameras and pets, then sending them away with smiles and laughter and wonder. A few brief moments on the keyboard drove away the chilly weather. Car horns and engine noises were dressed with Chop Sticks and perhaps a Sonata.

All day, all night. People coming. People touching. People going.

The next day, something happened. Some men appeared with sledge hammers. They destroyed the piano, right there in broad daylight. Nobody stopped them, not even the photographer. The photographer was not even there. We know this because later, after the piano was reduced to toothpicks and swept away--yes, the men who destroyed the piano actually swept pieces into a pile and put them in a bin while other larger pieces were thrown over a fence--two other men came with a piano dolly to collect. They found an empty sidewalk, empty except for other trash that sat unmolested on the curb from the day before. What happened to the piano? The camera recorded it all, including the discovery of the owner.

Some people are not attracted. They are blind to beauty. Beauty simply is, but some will not recognize it for what it is. This is why, for reasons unknown, a man will turn a gun on school children. This is not beautiful, and when beauty is destroyed, it is nearly indescribable un-beauty.

God, the source of Beauty, laid aside His glory and in being born a man on this earth, still attracted shepherds and so many others who came to him in all their unbeauty and left changed. Scripture says that he was not one of physical attraction, but people were drawn to Him. Then men came along with hammers, to wreck Him and sweep Him aside . . .

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