Ornamentation and beauty 1

I like ornamentation.  I like to make things beautiful.  Card making, sewing, embroidery, and other artistic endeavours are some of my favourite pastimes.  I love the challenge of taking paper, fabric, thread, photos, notes, even words, and putting them together in such a way as to be pleasant to the senses.

I also have a great appreciation for the beauty to surrounds me.  I love the way God decorates the pine trees in winter covering them in a sparkling layer of snow, and how He creates beauty in the life and colour of the fields in spring and summer.  I revel in His ornamentation skills displayed in the gorgeous array of colourful leaves in the autumn.  Standing by the sea listening to the roar of the waves, resting in the quiet woods hearing only the rustling leaves and twittering birds, having the wind in my face while watching the conifers sway, or simply hearing the crunch and squeak of the snow under my feet sends a thrill to my heart.  God seems to delight in putting little extra touches—ornamentation, if you would—to the “ordinary” things He places in our daily lives if only we will stop to look for their beauty.

I love to contemplate and create beautiful things, but there is a question I must ask.  Is beauty only that which can be perceived with the physical senses?  And what about beauty in people?  Most girls do care about how they look and how they appear to others, and I am no different.  While there is definitely nothing wrong with wanting to be neat and tidy, and looking nice (in fact, since we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, called to be reflections of Christ, we must take thought of these things), a problem does exist if this desire for beauty becomes the sole motivation for our doing what we do in the way we do it.  The question then arises, How far should we go?  If there is a possibility that beauty is more than what we can understand with our physical senses, what kind of beauty is most important?  Where should we be investing our efforts?

As I pondered these questions, I was lead to look into Scripture to see what God says on this subject.  Two passages came foremost to my mind:

“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” I Peter 3:3-4

“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” I Timothy 2:9-10

In these passages, I see three different areas of ornamentation or adorning: 1. A meek and quiet spirit; 2. Good works; and 3. Clothing, jewellery and hairstyles.  We will look at each of these in the following issues.