This morning I read to the girls of Esther. We read about her much in our home, quarterly I would estimate. Esther understood that beauty could help her speak Truth. When Esther had to convince the king to change his mind, she used a detailed feast to win his heart (elsewhere in scripture Abigail did the same). She made herself lovely, threw him a party, and delighted the king as richly as she could. The fact that Esther did this may seem a small point in the overarching story of how she saved her people, but I think it is crucial. I think Esthers skill in bringing Life and Beauty to others won the battle for the kings heart and saved the lives of her people. I think God used Esthers story in scripture because He wanted us to learn from her.
The girls and I talk much about how we can influence people simply by making the world a more beautiful place. With every word we say, song we sing, candle we light, tea time we share, with every way we present our home to others, every feast and party we host, we communicate to the world what we believe to be true. Hospitality communicates worth to the people we invite. Beauty tells others that they are important, precious, to us and to God. We believe that is true because God first demonstrates it for us in nature. His works are beautiful and they tell a story of Him. He created this world for us to enjoy, to notice, so we will do the same for others by creating for them. This is the reason for the details of how our family chooses to live. And yes, that is also why I place such an emphasis on Art in my schooling of our girls. Art being anything that they express from within themselves - music, sculpture, drawing, painting, writing, design, etc. These are their banners to raise in this world, their expressions of living faith.
I believe that beauty can change cultures because it is such a winsome way to communicate truth. In reading the story of Esther, I emphasize for the girls what a model she is for anyone who wants to be a world changer. I intentionally train our girls to win hearts, to fight for God and His Truths, and they have realized that one way they can do this is by being makers of Beauty.
So practically speaking, we drink tea from real china cups, I mimic natures changes by changing the interior decor of our home seasonally as well, we write real letters and serve feasts to others on a regular basis. We light candles every night, call the stars by name and sketch the moons phases. We linger over books and music, noting their meanings, diversity, vitalities. We paint, sculpt, design, cook and compose. We notice Detail and share detail in everything we do. I want the girls to deeply know their Worth, for what they do not know they can never teach when they leave our home.
As their mother, my hospitality toward them communicates their worth, so I strive to make everyday special in our home.
Beauty known and people loved are great ways that God offers His hand to us while we sojourn here on earth. By loving, by feasting, by reaching out and touching His Beauty, we take hold of His hand and let Him fill our hearts with joy. And we, in turn, offer that joy to others as well.
The new heavens and new earth will begin with a feast (Revelation 19:6-9). Each meal we serve, party we host, tea time we sit down to, candle we light and book we share are a small reflection of His goodness, an offering of beauty to win hungry hearts for such a time as this - my daughters hungry hearts, our community's hungry hearts.
This is why we live as we do. This is why we celebrate every day. This is why details matter. This is why.