Clinging to Fig Leaves

I put on righteousness, and it clothed me;
My justice was like a robe and a turban. Job 29:14

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The rose petals are unfolding. One at a time they arch toward the sun, revealing orange and gold hues to the garden afficionado. We’ve kept this one rose in a pot on our balcony—far from the ravished does and fawns that grace our cabin’s yard. If the rose hadn’t been protected its petals and leaves would be devoured by the insatiable hunger of a creature unaware of the beauty of the frilly petals that perfume the air.

Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming
From tender stem hath sprung!
Traditional German Carol

A plant laid bare by nature’s creature would perhaps have the roots themselves torn from the ground and left to die. Our world strips down to marrow the things unvalued. A moment’s pleasure disappears as quickly as a fly near a frog. All that is left is a hollow desire for more. Which will not satisfy an empty soul.
Using things or people until they are broken and discarded is built into the nature of man. It came at the time man determined he could navigate life without God’s guidance.

And then.

He noticed his nakedness.

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Without the covering of God, we are all simply stems, without verdant leaves, buds, blossoms, or fruit. We may have roots but they are rooted in emptiness and will live for a season then wither and die without proper nourishment.

Of Jesse’s lineage coming,
As men of old have sung.
It came, a flowe’ret bright,
Amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.

But proper nourishment is provided. As is light, which is necessary for growth, health, and wholeness. The roses on my balcony turn a lovely shade of pink and yellow with petals tipped in orange as they mature. A subtle 4th of July firework display that adds beauty to a vase by my bed. And I carry the scent with me after a brief sniff.

Isaiah ‘twas foretold it,
The Rose I have in mind;
With Mary we behold it,
The virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright,
She bore to men a Savior,
When half spent was the night.

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Sometimes a carol is necessary to dispel the thinking that life, in its abundance, should only be celebrated at harvest or when the advent season is upon us. Everyday we are given the opportunity to dwell on the beauty of God’s creation. But, do I grasp at fig leaves to cover up the bits of me that are uncomely? To hide the scars that mar me, He has clothed me with His righteousness. His love enfolds me, wraps me, shields me and protects His handmaiden. May I exhibit His handwork to the world, not the clothing I’ve created.

I will rejoice greatly in the Lord,
My soul will exult in my God;
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation,
He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness. Isaiah 61:10

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This Flow’r, whose fragrance tender
With sweetness fills the air,
Dispells with glorious splendor
The darkness everywhere.
Rue man, yet very God,
From sin and death He saves us,
And lightens every load.

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