Tuesday, November 1, 2016

"Come and Find Me" 24x24, Oil on Canvas

"Come and Find Me" 24x24, Oil on Canvas

Our church is setting the table for Christmas this coming November 20th with a special arts service. As the Artist in Residence, I have been working with several of the artists that are IN the church to set the stage for Christmas. It is a challenging and Holy task. I won't share about all of it right now as we are still unfolding how it will go and there are many who are involved that I need their permission to share. What I will say is that the theme for this particular service has formulated in my heart for a while. It helped me tremendously to get to share it with other artists so that the idea started to take shape. I'm extremely grateful for the talents and gifts I am working with.

For this painting, I wanted to share the Christmas sky in a new way. We have seen the Christmas cards many times with the three Wise Men on their camels making their way to the brightly lit star. It always makes me think, "Does it take a wise man to follow that?" The beam from the star is so obvious it begs the question, "Why did Herod need to be told WHERE Jesus was?" I don't mean to be mean. I really don't. I mean for us to think and to question this old story in a new way. When I painted this I was after the shadow of the Milky Way but the viewer could also see more. Is it a form? is it an Angel? Is it just the stars rotating in a certain way on a particular night? So many questions that are held in Christmas. So much mystery.

I call this, "Come and Find Me" because of something Esther Meeks said about the Wise Men. She was speaking about their looking into the night sky and hearing God say, "Come and find me..." and they did just that. It made me aware how He likes to say that to ALL of us at Christmas. Is it possible to find Jesus when the whole world is screaming, "SHOP!! BAKE!! PARTY!! STUFF!!" Please don't hear me say I don't do all that. I do. I have kids. But my heart longs for the quiet mystery of finding Jesus: My all. My deepest hope. We all hear the saying, "He's the reason for the season!" But don't really believe that to be true sometimes. It feels more like Mastercard or Visa are the reason for the season. Just like polluted cities keep us from seeing the stars so our own human emptiness makes us strive for happiness. It only muddies the water and reduces the meaning of Christmas to a ditty. A card that makes a sentimental statement about Jesus.

Perhaps all this stuff keeps us from the greatest realization of all: Our deepest longing has been realized and we are still trying to "stuff mart" everything. Look up! See the wonder that is Christmas! Realize the power of love and fragility. The world laid in our darkness and groaned. And then, one night, something of heaven fell to earth. Someone. He's inviting us, "Come and find me."

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