Sounding joy: Framed and in focus

News | December 1, 2021

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ,
while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains,
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

Every few years my dad and I plan a few days of photography together. This past October, my dad made the trip to Iowa to shoot some fall color. Peak fall color can be tricky and unpredictable. We planned for mid-October and hoped for the best. It turned out, fall color was not peaking. In fact, it was nonexistent. But we drove around Eastern and Northeastern Iowa anyway, enjoying our time together on the rural roadways, snapping a few barn photos along the way.

On a whim, we drove to Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens on my dad’s last full day in Iowa. We hoped to see a little glimpse of color left in their gardens. Wow. Even this late into the year, the Arboretum did not disappoint. Click, click, click. We zoomed in to capture the honeybees circling the sunflowers. Then we’d move over to the dahlias – some of them the size of dinner plates. And then the roses. I’d say, “Did you see this one?” “How about this one?” my dad would ask. We were the paparazzi to nature.

Suddenly, my cup was filled by the overwhelming beauty of the landscape. Yes, all of nature holds beauty. But blooms in particular are awe-inspiring to me. One of the reasons I love photography so much is that I want to be reminded of the exquisiteness of nature, given to us by God. I want to share it with others, too. Every tiny, delicate petal. Gracing us with their splendor. When God created each and every flower, He forgot nothing. As Dewitt Jones, a 20-year National Geographic photographer, once said, “Beauty is God’s way of remaining obvious.”

It is easy to stare into the darkness of our world and forget just how beautiful God made it. In this season of Advent, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, may we be able to focus on the beauty around us. And may it remind us all of God’s sounding joy.

God is always framed and in focus. We must just look through His lens.

Dear God, thank you for the beauty that surrounds us. Remind us to keep seeking your sounding joy, through nature and in others, even when we cannot see past the darkness. Amen

Laura Torgerud lives in Bettendorf with her husband, Steve, and daughter Abbie.

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