This holiday season, Alan, Joel, and I have attended the musical, Beauty and the Beast, at Civic Theater and the ballet, The Nutcracker, at DeVos Hall. Both will be playing again this coming weekend, and if you live in the area (or probably any area where they’re being performed), I can recommend them as really delightful. One thing that strikes me about plays and ballet is that even though the words and music usually remain constant, a new creative interpretation for the sets and choreography, and a different set of actors playing the roles, makes each year’s experience fresh and unique. Did you know that “Beauty and the Beast” type tales exist from 4,000 years ago? Truly, the story of love transforming us from beast to beauty is a “tale as old as time.” In The Nutcracker, little Clara dances with her heroic prince only in visions of the night, but in Beauty and the Beast (as the story goes), being genuinely loved by someone is what breaks the curse of our ugly selfishness and transforms us into something beautiful…not just in our dreams, but in the reality of our lives. Do you have a love that brings the best out of you and makes you into a better person? Whether or not you have a human love with whom you share such an inspirational relationship, there is Someone who loves you with an everlasting love. Jesus Christ, whose birth is celebrated this Christmas season, came to earth as “Immanuel” (“God with us). He was born, lived, and died in our place for our sins. Faith in Christ as our Savior is what transforms our hearts from the icy cold of selfishness to the irresistible warmth of true love. Can you feel the love tonight? If not, I pray you’ll open yourself up to living out a creative, new version of Beauty and the Beast where you and Christ are the protagonists. Ever want to participate in a musical or a ballet? Here’s you big chance…no auditions necessary! God the Father as already invited you, and He is the best when it comes to artistic direction and set design! Also, the Holy Spirit is the best ever choreographer. Let Christ transform your life into a story of beauty and grace.
“The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying,
Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love:
therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jeremiah 31:3)“And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us:
and establish thou the work of our hands upon us;
yea, the work of our hands establish thou it” (Psalm 90:17).
(As no photos are allowed during professional performances, I took photos of The Nutcracker from our program and found pictures of Beauty and the Beast on line. If anyone is offended, please let me know and I’ll remove them.)