The rain muffles engines and softens the colors of shiny cars and dark pre-war apartment buildings that fill the view from my window. Behind the curtain of rain, I pour through beautiful black and white, hand-made photographs, fresh from the magical pools of the darkroom.
A dear friend has just given me this series of photographs, a late wedding gift, and they document the hours before my wedding, the preparation, the laughter, the quietness. There are scenes with hair half way completed: curls piled high against waves, scenes of my sister clapping, her hands like flying birds, scenes of my mother looking on as a stylist puts a gigantic feather in my hair. There are images of mirrors, fresh fruit, dresses, ribbons.
Perhaps, at first glance, in spite of the brilliant light and textures of the images, the subject seems rather innocuous and superficial. Why would I want to see the early stages of the day, hours filled with attention to our appearance? Are these photographs about vanity, or is the outward activity an expression of something more?
It is somehow the invisible things that make the visible so weighty and wondrous. It is the story behind the twinkle lights, underneath the cover of stars, inside the smell of pine, hiding in our hearts.
May every outward thing cause us to look in and discover Jesus of Nazareth, and may these days in this season be like palm branches, preparing for His coming.