ORDiNARYmoments: Not Traded In

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IN my house there is a window where the sun shines in directly during the day, so I decided to buy a few tiny flower pots and grow some evergreen plants. Sometimes when I tire of work, I will look at the little green scenery in front of the window, and I feel relaxed. The scenery is tiny, because it only has an area of about 1 by 2 feet, with 10 miniature pots. But I often spend long minutes just looking at its green beauty, a calming and satisfying sight.

On my birthday not long ago, a friend gifted me a small plant of colourful leaves. I placed it in my little green garden, alongside the other green plants. This new plant had red and yellow leaves, and it looked splendid. I imagine if it could speak, it would say to the green leaves next to it: “Look at me, I am so beautiful. You are all green and so boring.” Truthfully, I also paid extra care and attention to it, for no reason other than its beauty.

But life is fragile, reality is cruel. I had to go out of town to teach classes for a few days, and I did not ask my family to help water the plants, because the green plants were always very sturdy. Even without water for a few days, they would still thrive. When I returned it was late, and I had many errands to attend to, so I did not visit my green garden.

On the second day, I went to open the window, and to my surprise, the pretty colourful leaves had all dried up except for one or two. The rest had turned brown. I tried all sorts of methods to revive the plant, but nothing worked. I felt very disappointed, and I wondered how to inform the friend who gave it to me.

So I left the dried brown leaves hanging sadly from their tiny branches. “Maybe I should give it a little more time, then it would come back,” I thought. But time passed, and the leaves did not grow, nor did it fall, so  I decided to give up on it and trade it in for one of those sturdy green plants.

As I was removing it, a thought struck me. In the beginning I liked it, because it was beautiful. And now I was throwing it away, because it was no longer beautiful, and had no more value. Isn’t this the world’s viewpoint? Where there is beauty, there is value; otherwise it is replaced or thrown away.

“A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out.” (Isaiah 42:3) Oh Lord God, you do not abandon us, though we are not good, though we are not beautiful. You do not trade us in; you still hold a banner of love over us. This Christmas, let us not forget this amazing love of God.

Winnie Chan, Local Preacher of Wesley MC, Sibu (Originally written in Chinese, translated by Joy Tie)

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