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Friday, December 21, 2007
Ballet, Beauty & Blessings
My daughter performed in a production of “The Children’s Nutcracker” with her ballet studio this weekend. She was in her element. Take one girly girl and combine her with pink chiffon, sequins, lipstick and a chance to be on stage (and backstage) with her friends and you have all the makings for an ecstatic experience (at least in my daughter’s eyes.) She was not nervous and by the second performance was running around like she owned the place. (Not that I'm proud or anything but to see a picture link to the original posting on my blog here.)

As I sat and watched all four performances I became aware of an upwelling of emotion at various points. This was not an emotional response to seeing “my baby” growing up as I might have thought but something different and it took me some time to understand what I was feeling. Sitting in the darkened theater I felt myself immersed in beauty and abundance. As I watched these beautiful young people I was aware of just how privileged and fortunate they are. They are healthy. They have parents (or someone) who is committed enough to get them to rehearsals and make sure they have the equipment they need to participate. They are Americans so they enjoy a standard of living that is only a distant dream for many around the globe. They get a chance to learn to dance and to be surrounded by beauty. As I experienced Tchaivosky’s “Waltz of the Flowers,” enchanted by the music and the young dancers who looked very much like beautiful flowers, I found myself saying a prayer of thanks to God for the gift of beauty and music and the abundance that makes it possible for me to partake in such a feast for the senses.

The sweetness of the experience was tempered only by the knowledge that so many of our fellow humans will never know abundance but will spend much of their lives struggling just to have enough. The contrast of these dual realities brings to mind the story of the nativity in which the jubilant proclamation of the Angels to the shepherds regarding the birth of Jesus is contrasted with the humble stable which housed him and the violence that followed his life. We live in the paradox of “already and not yet.” God has already provided for the redemption and reconciliation of all creation and yet that work is not yet complete. Living with such abundance it is easy to stop with what we “already” have (most everything we need and much of what we want) and forget that so many do “not yet” have even the basic necessities of life.

I pray that the sweetness of our celebrations this holiday season will be tinged with the awareness of and compassion for those who do not live with the abundance we will experience in the next couple of weeks. I pray that their need will be before us, not to spoil our celebrations, but to remind us to be thankful and to motivate us to generosity and compassion as we seek to follow the one whose birth we celebrate.

Lord hear our prayer.

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posted by Betsy Whaley at 7:52 AM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 12/21/2007 11:41:00 PM, Blogger lisa

    Yes, the discrepancy in lifestyles across the globe is very hard to come to terms with with. I suppose I am not supposed to "come to terms" with it, but do my small part to seek a better way.

    I have mentioned Jackson Browne's song, "The Rebel Jesus," before, but it is a timely season to google it and read the words. Better yet, buy if off itunes. It's just about my favorite song for this season.

    lisa in Africa

  • At 12/22/2007 11:16:00 AM, Blogger Betsy Whaley

    Thanks for the mention of the Jackson Browne song. I was not familiar with that but I downloaded it and I love it. Blessings to you and your family this Christmas. Betsy

  • At 12/23/2007 12:15:00 PM, Blogger lisa

    Betsy, so glad you like it. I think it's very powerful..



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