LeAnne Martin
Beauty and the Beholder

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Beauty of Christmas

A few months ago in early fall I wrote an article about Christmas. My assignment was to explore what the birth of Christ might have meant to God the Father. I approached it at first with trepidation. How could I begin to fathom what giving His only Son to us cost Him? The scripture "His thoughts are higher than our thoughts" kept coming to mind. Humbling though it was, I enjoyed the experience very much. I used Handel's Messiah and the prophecies referenced in that wonderful work as my framework. If you'd like to read the article, click here.

Thank you for reading this blog. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Beauty in Architecture

This week on my arts blog I'm featuring Dr. Jane Paradise Wolford, who seeks to "enlighten the public about the transformational potential of architecture." She has a Doctorate in Architecture (in History, Theory, and Criticism) from the Georgia Institute of Technology in addition to her Masters degree in Architectural History from Georgia Tech. She has some interesting things to say about beauty and design. I had to share them with you.

Jane says, "I think architecture reveals a lot about God’s role as Architect and Builder (Hebrews 11:10). In the Old Testament he gave very specific instructions to Moses (Exodus 26), David (1 Chron. 28:11-19), and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 40) about the construction of his places of worship --- from the choice of the builder down to the smallest details ---- design mattered to Him.

"God is also concerned with beautiful design in his creation of nature everywhere. Oceans, mountains, trees, plants, flowers, etc. point to God’s wondrous sense of design – and we haven’t even touched upon his marvelous creation of the human body. All his creations (disclaimer --- as he created them) are not only magnificently beautiful, but are awe-inspiring. The colors of vegetation and natural landscape features such as mountains or oceans both complement and contrast each other in color, texture, structure, and a multitude of other qualities. But dissonance and ugliness are not qualities of God’s creations in their pristine state. Only man’s fallen nature interjected these ugly realities into his earthly paradise. Peace, Joy, Harmony, Beauty, and Order were subservient to the promptings of man’s will after the fall. In our imperfect nature beauty can be stumbled upon every now and again --- but it is not the norm. This is what the study of architecture can teach us about ourselves – we crave balance, stability, order and beauty. Good architecture can speak to these needs."

What are some of your favorite buildings or styles of architecture? I'd love to know.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Happy Tree

Our region has been in a drought for quite some time. Today beautiful, life-giving, thirst-drenching rain is falling steadily. I love the sound of the rain falling through the trees onto the curled-up leaves on the ground.

Inside, the Christmas tree is brightly lit and adorned from top to bottom with ornaments. My favorites include anything my daughter made, formal glass and crystal shapes, and funky folk art dogs and reindeer. I also like the purple and royal blue plastic balls that hang everywhere. Tiny white lights provide background blink. Ours is a happy tree--something I really seem to need this year.

Today I'm grateful for so much beauty in my life--the rain, the woods outside, the happy tree inside, the crazy canine at my feet, my beloved husband and daughter, family and friends, and above all the Christ whose birth we celebrate. What are you grateful for?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wonderfully Made

For my friend Eileen, who is very sick, and for you and for me, too. The beauty of a personal God.

"O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.

"You have hemmed me in--behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

"Where can I go from your Spirit?
where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make me bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

"For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

"How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake, I am still with you.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting."

Psalm 139:1-10, 13-18, 23-24

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