|Sunset clouds on Vastra Hamnen, Malmo, Sweden. Into what kind of clouds do you think Christ ascended?|
Today is "Kristi himmelsfärds dag" in Sweden (Christ's Ascencion Day). Though people will tell me what the day means, they refer to it mostly as a "red day," which, to most concerned is simply a national holiday (read: day off of work). Because this red day happens on a Thursday, they have a sort of "rule" that Friday be a "squeeze holiday" since it falls between the actual holiday and the weekend. Furthermore, Monday is Swedish National Day, so we essentially have a five day weekend.
Enter "what does everyone do on a five day weekend," and you'll get a jillion answers. It's obvious a lot of people are gone (dark apartment windows), but it is also obvious (since the weather is fine) that people are out to enjoy the weather, the green grass, the blue sea and each other.
Including us. We had three picnics today: waffles on the deck for breakfast, a bike ride and picnic at the nearby castle park (with a stop at a technical museum), and a picnic at a nature reserve on the peninsula with friends. Now that is a great way to spend a day off!
As these days wind down, I find it more and more difficult to choose only one happiness in a day. Today contained a hundred happinesses. That doesn't mean everything is all happiness, all the time, but it sure is amazing how many small things--when I look for them--add up to happiness.
Even with a hundred happinesses, none of them compares to the joy of knowing that my Redeemer (one who saved me from my sins) died on the cross, was raised on the third day, forty days later he ascended to rule and to reign with our Heavenly Father, and lives to do so over two thousand years later. I know it sounds crazy. I can hear the craziness of it--can read it for myself. But I'm with the Apostle Paul, that "if only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men" (1 Corinthians 15:19 NIV).
Picnics on Ascension Day, out looking at the clouds, are a great way to wait for Christ's return. And, of course, I could never claim to know when that is!