Kristin and I had a chance to talk a beautiful walk through the Arboretum in Chaska. It was almost pure heaven for me.
Dalias, daisies, lilies, and snap dragons.
Hues of yellows, oranges, pinks, reds and every color in between. Did you know there were black eyed susan vines?! Such whimsy! There were many spots that reminded me of Psalm 23:
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside the still waters,
He restores my soul.
The garden themes were amazing and some were so calming, like the Japanese garden and the rose garden! These were two of the prettiest roses, Disneyland and Candy Cane Cocktail!
“This baby would be like that bright star shining in the sky that night. A Light to light up the whole world. Chasing away darkness. And the darker the night got, the brighter the star would shine.” – Sally Lloyd-Jones
“Like it or not, we either add to the darkness of indifference and out-and-out evil which surround us or we light a candle to see by.” – Madeleine L’Engle
“That same night, in amongst the other stars, suddenly a bright new star appeared. Of all the stars in the dark vaulted heavens, this one shone clearer. God put it there when his baby Son was born – to be like a spotlight. Shining on him. Lighting up the darkness. Showing people the way to him.”
In Jerusalem at the time, there was a man, Simeon by name, a good man, a man who lived in the prayerful expectancy of help for Israel. And the Holy Spirit was on him. The Holy Spirit had shown him that he would see the Messiah of God before he died. Led by the Spirit, he entered the Temple. As the parents of the child Jesus brought him in to carry out the rituals of the Law, Simeon took him into his arms and blessed God:
God, you can now release your servant;
release me in peace as you promised.
With my own eyes I’ve seen your salvation;
it’s now out in the open for everyone to see:
A God-revealing light to the non-Jewish nations,
and of glory for your people Israel.
Jesus’ father and mother were speechless with surprise at these words. Simeon went on to bless them, and said to Mary his mother,
This child marks both the failure and
the recovery of many in Israel,
A figure misunderstood and contradicted—
the pain of a sword-thrust through you—
But the rejection will force honesty,
as God reveals who they really are.