Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The power of light (a tale of four photographs)

Light of the World!
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God... - John 1
Monday turned out to be another day when I had absolutely no time to write. The house finally emptied out but it took two trips to the airport. That plus four other excursions pretty much emptied a tank of gas and a workday of time.

So, and this will be all BONUS for the attention-span-challenged among you, today's post will read like an edition of Headline News. Or, because of some great photos, think LIFE magazine instead.

Checking out his first Christmas Tree...
ADVENT! First, it's Advent, the season of expectation for the coming of Jesus. And, while I do not like the picture of me, I'm willing to sacrifice personal pride in order to share the image of our grandson, David Henry, taking a look at his first Christmas Tree.

David woke up fussy, so I walked him around the house. Then, when we rounded the corner to the front room, his eyes suddenly lit up and he looked over at the tree. It was like a moment of instant peace, and as if my six-week-old grandson had an intuition that he was gazing on a different kind of light, a light that I pray with all my heart he will always follow.

It's a mistake when people limit the impact of God's initiative and say things like, "Christmas is really for the children." But it is very true to say, "Children help us to understand the meaning of this time of the year." Thanks, David. Maybe the light will get my attention too.

David and Grace Maul with the "greats"
Timeless Portraits: Sunday evening the immediate family gathered in Palmetto for family pictures. We'll get the official set next week, but I shot a few around the patient professional photographer. For today I'll simply share this image of my parents, Grace and David Maul, with their three great-grandchildren, Haley, Hudson and David Henry.

What captures me about this image is the serenity. You see, there's light in this picture too, and it has the same source of origin as the light that caught David Henry's attention in the Christmas Tree. "In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." (John 1:4-5)

Every picture tells a story
PHOTO-JOURNALISM: The best pictures I take are those that tell the story all by themselves. This is one such image. The entire three-and-a-half day visit is evident simply in the way Naomi looks back toward me to say her last "goodbye." It's a look that says, "We had a wonderful time... Craig and David and I are so blessed and so loved... Spending time with Andrew was awesome... I love my family... I love being a mother... April (next scheduled visit) is too far away...."
It's easy to see the light here, too, Naomi is awash with it.

But please don't misunderstand this post. I'm not trying to paint an artificially rosy picture, and I'm not saying, "I'm blessed... too bad about you...." I'm simply taking a snapshot of the light as I stumble across it; I'm holding up a mirror and letting it reflect the truth about the world through the eyes of faith.

With Rebekah, saying "goodbye" at the airport...
GLOW IN THE DARK: When we took Andrew to the airport it marked the end of 18-days together for the two of us. What a treat! All I can say is that my son has grown into one of the finest young men on the planet. Let me sum it up in this way: In my Christmas book I tell a story of Andrew as a toddler. He had a glow-in-the-dark toy that he kept waving in the direction of a light-source but the luminosity faded too quickly once he got it back in the dark...

...Today Andrew carries his own light-source. It's the same one John referenced in Jesus, and Andrew carries it wherever he goes. Not only is Jesus the light of the world, but it is God's intention that we all bring that light to the world today. Andrew understands his mission, and he is most certainly hooked up to the source of the light.

For all of this, and for the promise of light that can be ours no matter where we are or what our circumstance, I am deeply thankful - DEREK

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