By Deborah Hackett
Just before Christmas, my husband and I surprised our two little ballerinas with a trip to see the Moscow Ballet performing the Russian Nutcracker (who knew Clara was Masha?).
The whole performance was breath taking, from the sumptuous sets, the beautiful dancing, the heart stopping acrobatics of the Arabian dolls to the lavish costumes. As the word ‘splendid’ popped into my mind in reference to what we were seeing, it lodged there and hasn’t left since.
Everywhere I look these days I see splendor; Christmas decorations, extravagant meals, lavishly wrapped gifts; even our worship leader’s electric guitar, (which only comes out on very special occasions) strikes me as splendid with its shiny black body and sparkly gold scratch plate. Then there are the mountains. Admittedly, in southern Pennsylvania where we ski, they aren’t quite Rockies standard, but still from the top of the chair lift looking down into the valley, the view is, well, splendid. Typically I attach the word ‘majestic’ to this type of sight, but no, my reaction is ‘splendid’. I know it’ a really good and somewhat underused word these days, but come on, I’m a writer. After 20 years in radio where you can tell a whole news story in three sentences with no repetitions, I am a thesaurus on legs, but I cannot shake this word.
So I had to stop and ask The Lord if He had lodged this word in my psyche for a reason. Of course He did. He embedded this word for two purposes. After such a long preamble, it’s only fair that you stick with me for the payoff, so here goes…
First of all, we can use the idea of splendor to contrast and appreciate. We live in such opulence compared to the manger he arrived into. We live safe and comfortable lives compared to a lifetime of effectively being on the run for crimes he didn’t commit. I don’t mean to diminish problems – we all have real world struggles and they are hard and heartbreaking and should drive us to our knees more than they do (speaking candidly for myself and not pointing any fingers). Our lives are splendid in comparison to so very many others. That knowledge can propel us to reach out and help. We don’t have to change the world, but we can change a life or a day, with simple acts of decency, born out of heartfelt appreciation for our blessings.
And then secondly, we can focus on (or resolve to) live splendidly on behalf of our Lord. By this I mean to choose an area of life or need and decide to make a difference this year. For me, I’m planning to use my time more efficiently to improve my relationship with Jesus, and serve my family, church and friends. I plan to love lavishly by having the time to do things properly instead of by half because I was overloaded having not made good choices with my day. I’m aiming to be a much better mommy and Mrs. by having the time carved out to do the jobs my husband often comes homes and does, despite having had a 13 hour day. And not being so frustrated with my rubbish time management means I will be able to spend more time with the children and (hopefully) feel more patient. And I hope with better time management I can step in when a friend calls or I get invited for a cup of tea with the pastor (always a loaded invitation).
These all seem splendid to me.
Please don’t mistake this for a treatise on ‘splendid.’ Rather it is my attempt to acknowledge Him as splendid in every possible way and aim to follow His lead the best I can in 2017.
‘The splendor of a King, clothed in majesty, let all the earth rejoice.’ (Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, Jesse Reeves).
Deborah Hackett is a British member of ACFW’s Virginia chapter. A career radio journalist, she is now enjoying ‘making it up as she goes along’, something that the BBC frowned upon. Deborah lives just outside Washington DC with her husband Willy, a Royal Air Force Pilot and their two daughters. Deborah plays bass, teaches Bible study, loves to take road trips and ski.