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  • Writer's pictureKristen Cole

Life Lessons from a Kaleidoscope

It was the last thing I thought he would pick up as his one souvenir from his first trip to the NC State Fair. A homemade kaleidoscope. It was small, asymmetrical, plain, until he held it to the light. The light shone through the vessel, hitting and bouncing off the many mirrors, shapes and colors inside. Hundreds of unique patterns delighted his eyes with each tiny twist of his left hand against his right hand as he stared toward the light in awe.

My eldest son, my saver of money, forwent all of the temptations that his younger brother fell captive to in that middle section of the fair where money is often swiftly thrown right into the deep abyss of impossible odds. He waited to return to the craft section on our way out of the fair to spend his allotted twenty-dollar stipend for the day. A homemade kaleidoscope called him back, its wonder pulling him in like a runner to that next runner’s high.

I saved the description of the kaleidoscope from that day 1.5 years ago. Sometimes, I don’t know why I save things, trinkets, scraps. But the kaleidoscope description, I just knew I would return to it. This sweet purchase touched my heart, also my soul, and has turned out to be a teacher years later in helping me get one step closer to being the kind of person and mother I believe God wants me to be.

The description breaks down the word kaleidoscope into its Greek origin. “Beautiful form view” is the short and easy translation for kaleidoscope in Greek. further expanded the definitions with associated Scripture.

Kalos – beautiful, as an outward sign of the inward goal; noble; honorable character; good that inspires others to embrace what is lovely.

This same word is used in the following Scripture from Matthew 5:16, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good (kalos) deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

If our lives truly reflect His light, in a similar way that a kaleidoscope reflects the sun, what a meaningful comparison these two vessels become. The same plethora of color and shape schemes that become alive in the kaleidoscope would look like an endless ripple effect of (kalos) good that inspires others to embrace what is lovely, in us. Goodness and honorable character are the light of Christ and pull others to God with His power. Yes, let me be that kind of kaleidoscope.

Eidos – form, the visible form; shape; appearance; kind; what is physically seen before mentally or spiritually apprehended; refers to the outward form taken on by each of the three persons of the Holy Trinity.

There are three different verses of Scripture using the word, “eidos” as related to the three different persons of the Holy Trinity. I chose the one describing Jesus in Luke 9:29. “And while He was praying, the appearance (eidos) of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming.”

Jesus was revealing His identity as God’s Son in this passage. This scripture is pivotal in our faith. The form with which Jesus took changed from human to that of deity. Then God spoke audibly, declaring Jesus as His son, saying “This is my son, whom I have chosen; listen to Him.” His new form, bright and glowing truth, changed everything.  The sun light also changes everything in the kaleidoscope, an otherwise empty tubular vessel, into a tapestry of colors, shapes and beautiful contagious mystery. Yes, let me be changed from my sin nature into a new vessel of love, light and hope in the good.

Skopos – view, to spy, peer, look into the distance; the goal or end one has in view; to look carefully, consider, the unique glorification the Lord awards to each believer at His return; the goal in the race of faith.

One of my favorite verses in the whole Bible uses the word, “skopos.” “I press on toward the goal (skopos) to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

Looking ahead to our futures, similar to looking towards the light when using the kaleidoscope, we forget what is behind, beside or around us that might hinder our progress. We focus on reaching our goal of seeing the beautiful picture display of the kaleidoscope or the fullness of God’s plan in this life. Because the light of Christ is so all encompassing and engaging, anything that would attempt to thwart our vision is mere blur in the periphery. Yes, let me keep a razor sharp focus on the only goal truly worth pursuing in this life.

Who knew that a description of a kaleidoscope, offered as a token to go along with the homemade craft picked up by my nine-year-old would lead me to the Greek language and a better understanding of my own person hood in Christ? And beyond that, who knew that my son’s identification of this treasure would challenge me to recognize better who God made him to be? God knew. That’s who.

As my son looks towards the sun light with his cardboard vessel of mystery, I want to be the mom who encourages him to look towards the light of Jesus, the one who fully illuminates the unique masterpiece he was created to be. As my son begins to understand the twisting left and the twisting right in order to change his perspective and open his world to new depth and breadth, I want to be the mom who helps him understand life on this earth just a little bit more so that he is truly transformed by the light that is Christ. I want to be the mom who helps him to realize that he must keep his eyes on Jesus’s light in order to see true beauty that cannot be seen in darkness.

Each of us with our own set of shapes, colors and intricacies are only able to fully become who God created us to be with the light that is Christ. As we allow His light to infiltrate and color our entire being, only then does His glow display our true beauty in Him. Our “beautiful form” can only then fully realize what it is to strive towards the goal of eternity with Jesus – an endless horizon of more colors, shapes and carefully crafted kalos designs than our human eyes can fathom.

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