When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” Luke 2:15
Pink-purple ice glints in the sunlight on the smooth slate patio stones. My head knows it must be the sunlight from the east, refracting a bit of the spectrum perfectly on these small ice crystals from yesterday’s snow, but my heart still wonders at the out-of-place colors.
My mind free-associates to the pink and purple advent candles which usually grace our kitchen table this time of year. Pink and purple, often-forgotten advent colors in the Christian church liturgical year.
Pink (or rose), the color of Joy. I’m used to white, but pink startles me and forces me to remember its meaning. The “shepherd’s candle,” the rose candle in the advent wreath, marks the third Sunday of Advent. The shepherds — poor, despised, wandering, and dirty — faithfully tended their sheep and responded with pure joy and amazement when they saw the angel and gradually awoke to the coming of their prophesied redeemer-king.
Purple, the color of repentance and fasting most often associated with Lent, is equally appropriate at Advent when we await the coming of Jesus. Traditionally, we prepare our hearts for that humble Arrival; more commonly I “try” to focus on the coming of Jesus, but I’m quickly immersed in cookie-baking, card-mailing, present-finding and house-decorating. Jesus takes a back seat to the mad dash of preparations.
How appropriate, to find pink and purple glistening snow on my patio. The colors remind me again to stop and think: How often have I welcomed Jesus with the gritty joy of the homeless itinerant shepherds? The shepherds had so little and rejoiced so much. Ironically, I have so much and rejoice so little. How can I reflect this pink and purple light? Can I open my eyes and humbly (and unabashedly) celebrate?
If “repent” means “to change,” this is one change I can make! The cards will be late (though the cookies are being made). The presents may not be very creative this year. But celebrate Jesus….
I move further away from the window. Gradually, the sun moves south-westward and the ice returns to white and shiny grey, normal colors for the frigid winter landscape.
As I sit down to write, pink and purple ice crystal reflections color my mind and my heart takes notice. It listens, waits, turns a little bit more toward Jesus, the coming King, and I smile.