God's Glory in Creation

This I call to mind and therefore I have hope…
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, 
For his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning: Great is Your faithfulness!
Lamentations 3:21-23

It happened this morning, at 7:02am… just as it did yesterday, at 7:01am… and as it will do again tomorrow at 7:03am… Like clockwork, the sun ‘rises’ on our eastern horizon every morning announcing the beginning of a new day.  Sometimes the sunrise makes her announcement in bold, stratified colors.  Other days, the announcement of light filters through layers of clouds to give a more muted beginning.  However the first rays strike our soil, the sun ‘rises’ every day, no matter what.  Each night as we lay down to sleep, we may have many concerns in our hearts and minds, but we never have to wonder if the sun will ‘rise’ in the morning.  God has ordained the movement of the heavens to provide light and warmth every morning without fail.
We rest in that cycle of day and night.  In the current upheaval in the world today, it is one of the only constants we can trust.  Yet, as the heavens move, and winter approaches, the length of light during the day, and the warmth that light provides, lessens.  On the longest day of the year, the summer solstice, June 21st, we had 15 hours and 3 minutes of daylight.  On the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice, December 21st, we will have 9 hours and 18 minutes of daylight.  The difference is a startling 5 hours and 45 minutes of precious sunlight!  No surprise, many people are already beginning to feel the weight of what has become known as SAD- Seasonal Affect Disorder.  About 20% of our population suffer from SAD either moderately or greatly.  But even those of us who do not fall under this diagnosis feel the impact of the lessening sunlight on our mood, especially this year.  Beautiful days, long walks around the neighborhood, sunlight pouring through window all have helped us handle the waves of uncertainty and general nastiness in our world today.  Now that the days are growing colder and shorter, what do we do to keep the winter blues away?
The other day I went for my usual morning run.  I like to go early in the morning before I have a chance to talk myself out of the exercise.  Because the days are growing shorter, it was dark when I left my house.  A storm had blown through the area the night before, leaving behind debris from the trees in our neighborhood.  Imagine dodging sticks and wet leaves on dark streets lit by only an occasional porch light.  I have had moments when nature has won that game tossing me to the ground, so I am careful to watch where I place my next step.  Block after block I made my way along a well-known route, successfully navigating what nature had placed in my path.  As I ran, the sky lightened, sunrise approaching, but still I kept my eyes on ground before me.  Then suddenly, for some unknown reason, I looked up.  I must have been heading east because there before me was the most spectacular sight.  The sky was streaked with red and orange, as if it were on fire.  Those colors lasted only a few minutes before they faded into a sky streaked merely with wisps of clouds.  If I had not looked up when I did, I would have missed that display of God’s glory!
Thinking back on that moment, I wonder how many times I miss the beauty that God brings into the world around us.  I am so busy trying to survive the day, that I often do not stop to see what God is doing.  The other day, I watched our little granddaughters examine rocks in the dry creek bed behind our house.  They were impressed by the colors and textures, insisting that we carry them all home.  But those are the same rocks I walk on without a second thought.  They notice the flowers on the weeds.  They stop to inspect every insect.  They thrill to the sounds of birds in the trees around our house.  They are not even disturbed by the lessening of sunlight because they love to see the stars.  Our beautiful little granddaughters insist that I stop to notice all these displays of God’s glory.  Those moments of pause remind me that God’s faithfulness, God’s greatness, God’s love, are etched into the world all around us.  I see that beauty in the sacrifice of our front-line workers.  I hear that beauty in the people of God as we sing on Sunday mornings.  I know that beauty when I watch you sacrifice for people you don’t even know with your generous gifts.  The ugliness in our nation tempts me toward darkness, but then God calls me to stop once more to know God’s faithfulness.
I am wondering if today you and I can stop intentionally to look for God’s faithfulness.  Notice God’s glory in creation.  Feel God’s love expressed in people around you.  Pray and then listen for God’s still small voice speaking through the chaos.  Read a Psalm or one of the Gospel stories and let God’s Word redefine your day.  Pause long enough to allow God to re-new you like the dawn.  Together may we find the hope that comes in knowing God’s faithfulness!
Pausing with you,
Anita
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