I happen to be out and about today on some country roads and took notice of one of my favorite sights - corn stalks sticking up through the fallen snow. There was a time in my life that I would have never thought anything of those corn stalks, if I even would have noticed them at all. But, I have learned a lot over the years about the many ways we humans can make very deliberate choices that can have positive long-term impacts on our environment. One of those ways is to leave the stalks standing.
Maybe you have never given it a thought before either. But, as you drive through the countryside, I encourage you to make note of those fields of fallen snow through which you can see corn stalks poking out. And, when you see such a sight, I want to encourage you to have another thought - imagine those corn stalks are a warm coat, providing protection to the soil through the long winter.
Oh, for sure the soil will be COLD through the bleak midwinter. Frost will settle in deep. The ground will become rock hard. It is not the very same as what a warm coat means to you and me through the frigid temperatures. But, if you can just conjure up the image of a coat covering the ground, it may help you gain a new awareness and appreciation for this wonderful sight.
Once, years ago, I even commented that a sight such as this looked a bit of "a mess." But, isn't that the way it is with real beauty? It looks a bit a mess to the casual observer. However, when we take time to look more closely, to understand a thing, that is when we discover its true beauty.
And isn't that what happened more than 2000 years ago, on another cold night? When shepherds came to a lowly manger? Where there were animal smells and hay and dirt all around? It's a good thing the shepherds didn't just make a casual glance and move along, figuring they must have been mistaken. They would have missed the beauty of that night.
May your eyes be ever open to the beauty that is found amid the mess of this wonderful life.