We wandered around a Christmas tree farm and sought out a tree to mark the season, an emblem of beauty and tradition.
Last week, we marked Christmas in true Chicago form, enjoying the general splendor of a city who does it so well.
It's hard to believe we are approaching the close of the Advent season. This Sunday marks the fourth and final Sunday of Advent. It is a season of "coming" of "coming to", the expectant and joyful anticipation, watching and waiting for the birth of Jesus. It is the anticipation and expectancy that I love most about this season. The ever-rising excitement that leads us to the apex of the story. The thread that has been running through the story of creation at last makes itself known in the birth of Christ. And it is not just a birth, it is a beginning; it is a mark of redemption; it is a testimony to the immense love of the Master of the Universe. It is our Creator making a way for us to live, and live wholly.
What a wonder.
It is the wonder that Linus shares with Charlie Brown.
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
That's what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown."
It is that same sense of wonder that George Bailey has upon discovering Zuzu's petals, upon remembering who he is, that his broken heart and his crushed spirit have a love and place.
After reading some of Pope Francis' recent writings in the "book" the Vatican recently put out, this excerpt on the way of beauty stuck with me:
“Every form of catechesis would do well to attend to the “way of beauty." Proclaiming Christ means showing that to believe in and to follow him is not only something right and true, but also something beautiful, capable of filling life with new splendour and profound joy, even in the midst of difficulties. Every expression of true beauty can thus be acknowledged as a path leading to an encounter with the Lord Jesus. This has nothing to do with fostering an aesthetic relativism which would downplay the inseparable bond between truth, goodness and beauty, but rather a renewed esteem for beauty as a means of touching the human heart and enabling the truth and goodness of the Risen Christ to radiate within it."
As we light the last of the candles on the wreath and come around the table, may we experience the way of beauty in moments like Charlie Brown and George Bailey had. As we enter the final week of Advent, may we seek to fill life with new splendour and profound joy.