Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mary, "Did You Know?"

Wounded Christ

I walk through the Louvre the way a child walks a path. I'm looking for the odd rock, the gems no one else is really looking for. Yes, I'll do the obligatory Mona Lisa, but my sensibilities are not with the crowd's. Whatever strikes me, I photograph. I'm terribly irresponsible when it comes to looking for the name of the painting, the painter, the period.

In the back of my mind, my blogworld urges me. Take pictures of beauty, pictures of force, pictures with potential for holiday use.

This wounded Christ arrests. I snap the picture, thinking, Easter.

But no, he would not wait 'til Easter. He wants to be here, at Christmas. And his mother too, swooning to the left. She wants to say, Did you think that birth was an easy thing? Did you know that it begins with pain, wraps up struggle, ends in death? Did you know?

I did not want to know, Mary. I wanted to believe that birth was an easy thing.

This is the danger of walking the way a child walks a path. You don't necessarily find what you are looking for. Unlike the tourist who goes out seeking the Mona Lisa and finds it, you find Christ in the wrong places. You find Easter at Christmas. You find pain in birth, even as you find glory, beauty and force. You press and click and you take home... the unexpected pebble, that slaps against your leg in secret.


Wounded Christ painting, photo taken at the Louvre, by L.L. Barkat.

Merry Christmas, my friends. May you find the gems no one else is looking for in this amazing season.

RELATED:

LL's Christmas at Love Notes to Yahweh

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12 Comments:

Blogger NaNcY said...

you, my dear sister, are a gem.

2:27 PM  
Blogger Marcus Goodyear said...

"You don't necessarily find what you are looking for. Unlike the tourist who goes out seeking the Mona Lisa and finds it, you find Christ in the wrong places."

As one who loves zombies, I'm constantly finding Christ in the wrong places.

This also reminds me of the way I used to travel. I would get a book and learn about a city, but not make any specific plans until breakfast. Each day opened up new possibilities. Because if I go out looking for something specific I am often disappointed.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Yes. We need to keep open hearts and open eyes . . . and not think we already know all the stories.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Wow. I continue to be embarrassed by links to blogs from my blog. Can't figure out how that's happening.

Actually to me a lovely painting at least in portraying something real and poignant about Jesus' birth and all that would mean to Mary (and true, it did start right away there in Bethlehem!) and really to us all, to the world.

I've been reflecting on the cross, at least in the back of my mind as I've considered Advent this year. And in Jesus and his completed salvation, we in Jesus are taken up into the same life, a resurrection life, meaning we live as those who have died and are risen in Christ. Or that is what is at work in our lives in Jesus, anyhow, and really the pattern and reality for us here (just me thinking out loud again and mumbling something which at least half of those who might hear believe already).

10:24 PM  
Blogger kirsten said...

i was thinking about mary today, too ... wondering if she would know all that her decision would mean: that being the vessel through which our Emmanuel would come would also mean her heart would bleed even as her son's did. i was wondering if she knew what she was getting herself into when she said "yes": a stained reputation, accusations, whispers in dark corners, and the possibility of stoning.

there is something horrific and beautiful about it all.

12:25 AM  
Blogger Joelle said...

",,, that slaps against your leg in secret." These thoughts need to be held, pondered in a deep, quiet place. Thanks, L.L. The joyous birth is so intrinsically linked to pain. Otherwise would "Immanuel" mean anything to us?

8:31 AM  
Blogger sojourner said...

Thank you for this one! Grace, Love, and Peace to you and yours!

10:22 AM  
Anonymous ChiefHazelrah said...

Merry Christmas to you too.

2:31 AM  
Blogger Every Square Inch said...

LL - Merry Christmas to you and your family. Thanks for your special Christmas wish...I trust by God's grace I'll find those gems.

6:31 AM  
Blogger elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Christmas and Calvary. They do not exist in isolation but rather weave the tapestry of our Father's most sacred pause. Love your thoughts here.

One of the greatest "gems" of my season has been reading your book. I'm nearly through and will make a second pass at it come January. I don't easily absorb the breadth of what I read in a first setting. I just get a flavor and make a decision whether or not to dig deeper.

I'm up for the dig. Thanks for penning your gem.

peace~elaine

7:30 PM  
Blogger SuzyQ said...

Absolutly wondeful post.
These words particularly struck me deeply.
"Unlike the tourist who goes out seeking the Mona Lisa and finds it, you find Christ in the wrong places. You find Easter at Christmas. You find pain in birth, even as you find glory, beauty and force."
So much to reflect on :0)

God Bless.

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Ann said...

And with Christ and open eyes, there is wonder in everyday. Thank you.

2:51 PM  

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