“Snowflake Collage” DS
In my online reading, quite unexpectedly, I happened upon a contemporary thought-provoking painting of Christ’s birth: “The Nativity” by Brian Kershisnik. It became obvious from looking that so much of what is happening when we think again of the story is unseen. Another great artist said:
“My aim is always to get hold of the magic of reality and to transfer this reality into painting — to make the invisible visible through reality. It may sound paradoxical, but it is, in fact, reality which forms the mystery of our existence.” Max Beckmann
We rely on the eyes of faith or what has been called the prompting of the Spirit – a feeling perhaps or a knowing that something is true without all the facts. I think again of how my Christmas celebration seems so far from what I would like it to be each year. My habit of direct prayer, however, is always answered. I address the risen Christ, the One who was born, lived, died, rose and now lives again interceding for us at the right hand of the Father (Book of Romans).
As I go about my preparations for the holidays, I pray to this alive Jesus for something wonderful to happen again this year. I pray that He would give me the best gift on His birthday – a paradox this – as the birthday person usually receives all of the gifts. But turning expectations upside down is nothing new for Jesus. I do rejoice in this. It gives me hope for change for those who struggle – and miracles can happen – especially at Christmas. The Creator of the universe came to be with us – Emmanuel. The gladness is real and spreading. It does not depend on me or my attitude.
“Nativity” painting by Brian Kershisnik
This Year will be Different
by Ann Weems (1934- )
Who among us does not have dream
that this year will be different?
Who among us does not intend to go
peacefully, leisurely, carefully to word Bethlehem,
for who among us likes to cope with the
commercialism of Christmas
which lures us to tinsel not only the tree
but also our hearts?
Who among us intends to get caught up in a tearing around
And wearing down?
Who among us does not long for:
gifts that give love?
shopping in serenity?
cards and presents sent off early?
long evenings by the fireside with those we love?
(the trimming devoid of any arguing about who’s going to hang
the aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg mingling with the pine
scent of the tree,
and carols gently playing over our idyllic scene)
and the children! The children cheerfully talking about
giving instead of getting?
Who among us does not yearn for
Time for our hearts to ponder the Word of God?
Moments of kneeling and bursts of song?
The peace of quiet calm for our spirit’s journey?
This year we intend to follow the Star
instead of the crowd.
But, of course, we always do
intend the best.
(And sometimes best intentions tend to get the best of us!)
This year, when we find ourselves off the path again
(and we invariably will!),
let’s not add yet another stress to our Advent days,
that of “trying to do Christmas correctly”!
Instead let’s approach the birth of our Lord
with joyful abandon!
And this year
let’s do what Mary did and rejoice in God,
let’s do what Joseph did and listen to our dreams,
let’s do what the Wise Men did and praise and glorify God
for all we’ve seen and heard!
As for the Advent frantic pace, we don’t have time for that.
We’ll be too busy singing!
This year will be different!