My wife loves watching the rich pageantry, the floral floats, the magnificent marching bands, and the elegant equestrian units that constitute the Rose Parade – it is a New Year's tradition for her to watch the parade in her pj’s while consuming coffee on the couch. Personally, I am more a fan of the football games that come later, but despite my preference for the pigskin, I am always amazed by the detailed craftsmanship that is involved in constructing the fanciful floats.
Each float is professionally designed and constructed by special float builders at an average cost of $275,000.00. In 10 days leading up to the parade, it's estimated that it takes 60 people working 10 hours a day to decorate one float, and if my math is correct, then that means it takes approximately 6,000 hours to complete the decorating of each float. A float could have as many as 60,000 resplendent roses adorning its surface, with every stem in its own vial full of water to keep each petal looking fresh for the parade. In addition to all those radiant roses, each float is also decorated with gorgeous greenery that comes from a diversity of destinations from around the globe.
Roses are phenomenal flowers. Consider these interesting facts about roses:
Another distinguishing detail of the exquisite elegance of the rose is that it is protected by thorns. Although we may be tempted to consider the thorns of the rose as mere annoyances or sources of pain and suffering, something that detracts from the beauty of the rose and that should be removed or avoided, perhaps we would benefit from considering an alternate perspective.
Take a moment and imagine a rose bush in full bloom. What do you see? Do you see thorns in a rose bush, or do you see roses in the midst of thorns? Often, we are tempted to grumble and complain that roses have thorns, but perhaps we should celebrate, or at least learn to appreciate, that thorns have roses!
Does every rose have its thorn, or does every thorn have its rose? How we choose to answer that question this year could make all the difference. If we can try to see the potential for beauty through the thorns as well… if we can see God through the thorns and trust that there is a purpose that we can’t fully understand and appreciate until time has passed, then the beauty of the buds will be protected and allowed to grow and bloom and the rose will be revealed according to God’s perfect plan.
When we think about roses, we think about love, beauty, and grace. When we think about thorns, we are reminded of the “thorn in the flesh” described by Paul and the crown of thorns worn by Jesus, and we think about pain and suffering. The next time we encounter some thorns, however, perhaps there is an opportunity to pause and look for, and wait for, the rose. For if we strive to see God in the thorns, His name shall truly be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Happy 2023, everyone!
PS: My apologies for the abundance of alliteration in this post.