Winter has arrived in the Lowcountry. The marshes have lost the luster of spring and summer green. The water has moved on from the deep blue and green hues to the dark and foreboding grey. 

Beauty seems to have gone into hibernation as it awaits the warmth of spring to awaken from its cold and dreary sleep. But has it? 

Is there still beauty to be seen and experienced and created, even in the midst of winter?

As Christians, we believe that all humanity, all women and all men, are created in the image of God. Bearing the image of our Creator implies certain traits and characteristics and desires. We have a desire to be known and loved as God has the desire to be known and loved. 

We also bear the trait of our Creator to create – to create beauty and speak into the void and chaos of the world around us and call out the beauty that is yet to be seen and experienced. In this way we reflect our creator who hovered over the deep and called forth the beauty of creation. 

We view the world around us differently because we see in nature the artistry of a creative God. We hang our kindergartener’s scribble on the refrigerator because we see the creative desire in the crayon marks on the page. We hold our lover’s hand and experience the beauty of being known and knowing another. There is beauty to be found and beauty to be created. 

Psychiatrist and author Curt Thompson suggests that we do three things to develop the right hemisphere of our brains where we experience beauty. He suggests that we first make a habitual practice of engaging in some creative action at least two or three times a week. Draw a picture with your child; pull weeds from your garden; begin to read a book; take a walk and take photos of the world around you. 

Second, practice putting yourself “in the path of oncoming beauty.” Make time to engage in art, be that music, poetry, sculpture or painting. Spend 20-30 minutes just being with what you are viewing or listening to or reading. 

Another way to put yourself in oncoming beauty’s path is to begin your day by stepping into nature rather than turning on a device. Experience the creation around you. Take a walk and remember what J.R.R. Tolkien said: “Not all those who wander are lost.”

Third, simply plan to connect with others with regular frequency with the intention of sharing with them what creative acts you engaged in or how beauty revealed itself unexpectedly. We are relational by nature and need to share our hearts and minds with others. 

Thompson also writes, “God sees us not as problems to be solved or broken objects to be repaired but beauty on the way to being formed. Sin, then, is what keeps us in a posture of resisting God’s desire for creating beauty in, with, and through us. His desire is for us to join him in creating and adding to the beauty we are becoming, which transforms the world around us into much the same.”

So, as you make your New Year’s resolutions, be sure to resolve to join with your Creator in seeing, experiencing, and creating beauty in your life and in the lives of those around you. 

Rev. Bill McCutchen is lead pastor of Hilton Head Presbyterian Church. or