This is one of my favorite ornaments from this year. I love its simplicity. Just 2 dominant colors, gold and royal blue, inset into the background color, white. One shape, the interlocking triangles, repeated 4 times. It's not flashy or over the top. It just is what it is. It owns it's own presence, so to speak.
And after all, isn't that the true meaning of simplicity? The word "simplicity" can be referred to in 2 other words - natural and honest. No subterfuge. No hidden agenda. No secrets or dishonesty.
When I was doing my Masters degree in Theology, one of the classes I took was called "Salvation is From the Jews: A History of Isreal." It was fascinating and eye-opening, and gave me a new appreciation for Jewish culture and history.
Many Scripture scholars tell us that Jesus identified himself as Israel. Not just as a member of the Israelite people, although he did that, too. Jesus took this understanding further. He himself was the collective Israel, the one who would suffer for love of his God, the one who would hear the words of the Lord and obey, the one who would keep the Law perfectly. This ornament captures that understanding.
Jesus didn't hide who he was, or what he came to do (although he did tell some people to wait in revealing who he was.) He was simplicity embodied, made flesh. He had no subertfuge - his message was right out there, as plain as he could make it. He challenged the people of his day, and he challenges us as well, to live this radical simplicity of being honest and natural, of refraining from manipulating people by telling them half-truths. Jesus was also a great leader. He was not afraid of confrontation. He chose to be true, not popular.
This "Season of Miracles" ornament prompts us to ask ourselves - are we living lives of simplicity? Even though we, unlike the Jewish people caught in the Nazi regime, are not forced to wear a symbol identifying us as followers of this Jewish leader, are we nevertheless still identifiable by our words? By our actions? By our lives?
2017 Fit For A Princess Disney's "Cinderella"
We all know the basic story of Cinderella, don't we? It's the archetypal story of the sweet innocent girl being taken advantage of by the wicked stepmother. This ornament displays one of the pivotal moments in Disney's Cinderella movie, when Cinderella is offered the glass slipper. She puts it on, and it fits like a glove.
We might ask, why does it only fit her? Is she really, REALLY, the only girl in town who wears that size shoe? The answer is Yes! In this case, the shoe doesn't represent an actual size, as in 5, 6 or 7. Rather, it represents Cinderella's internal disposition. This is one of those "types" in the movie, where an object represents something else. In this case, the shoe represents a very small, un-egoistical soul, specifically Cinderella. Of course the shoe won't fit the stepsisters; they fly across the room as soon as they see it, demanding to be first in line, most important, the center of attention. Their egos are too big. The shoe doesn't fit.
Cinderella waits patiently in the shadows behind, and when it is her turn she produces the mate for the shoe, and slips it on. This is a connection to Jesus' statement that "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven." Jesus is not talking so much about simply owning many material goods, after all King Solomon was known for his wealth and gold. Rather, when our worth is bound up in our possessions only (whether that is tangible goods or status or fame, etc.) then our egos will block the entrance to heaven. We will not want TO serve, instead we will want to BE served. Cinderella vs. the stepsisters. The shoe fits one, but not the others.
An added feature to this ornament is that it lights up!