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Meanderings by Art by Marianne

The Christian Artist and Christmas.

This Christmas season has been especially exhausting to me. To say I’m exhausted is an understatement. It’s more like a feeling of being completely depleted.  Wrung out.  Near collapse.  Last night at our church’s Christmas eve service, while singing in the choir, the great weight of this overwhelming exhaustion hit me hard.  This unusual feeling startled me so much that I prayed to God to help me get through the evening.  I understand and appreciate that this time of year finds many people in this same condition but for me this is a very out of the ordinary feeling. I’m not used to being exhausted.  My normal state is one of joy, child-like excitement and creative energy.  I have very little patience for those who complain about being “exhausted” and “overwhelmed” as part of their normal conversation. Therefore, so as not be “one of those people”, I’ve spent much of today thinking and praying about how and why I became like this. “Why God?” I’ve been asking, “Why am I feeling so overwhelmingly exhausted?”  Yes, I have the normal life events happening, job changes, family illness, a long list of “to dos” but there must be something more going on.  And while thinking and praying about my new condition a thought came to me…I’m on sensory and emotional overload.  Those family illnesses I mentioned have been more than just a cold or the flu. They are things that have required hospitalization and trips to the doctor. The job changes have turned out to be more than just adding a new responsibility or moving my desk.   Adding this to the extra music, decorations, lights, colors, people, food, noise, and hustle bustle of the season can make daily life become overwhelming to even the non-artistic types.

Please let me explain further. As an artist, the added visual and sensory stimulus that comes with the holiday season, combined with the everyday life stressors, can send us completely over the “cliff of exhaustion”.  Artists by nature are sensitive and many times overly aware of the visual and auditory beauty that surrounds us during Advent.  While we love it, look forward to it and eagerly participate in it, the sheer volume of it can leave us feeling a little out of sorts, uncomfortable and consequently exhausted.  As you know, being creative, whether it’s painting, writing or composing, takes a lot of mental and sometimes physical energy.  If one combines this with the normal exhaustion that accompanies the Christmas season an artist can begin feeling so overwhelmed that we may even run the risk of temporarily losing our motivation and desire to create.

So how, as Christian artists, do we “heal” from the onslaught of emotional, physical and spiritual exhaustion we call the Christmas season? The answer is simple. We pray, stay in the word, and hold tight in our hearts to the good news that comes with this time of year. On a quiet night, in a quiet town, in a quiet spot our Savior was born.  Hold on to this good news. While we are a long way from our eternal home right now, this good news guarantees repentant believers that someday we will be there. Where we can finally enjoy peaceful rest.

Today, the words to an ancient Christmas carol have been on my mind. The lyrics are a prayer of praise, thankfulness and great hope.  They are a reminder that right here, right now I can find the a measure of the peaceful rest I need in the promise of Christmas and Emmanuel.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

And ransom captive Israel.

That morns in lonely exile here.

Until the Son of God appears.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring come and cheer.

Our spirits by Thine advent here

Disperse the gloomy clouds of night.

And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emanuel

Shall come to thee O Israel.

O come Desire of Nations.

Bind all Peoples in one heart and mind.

Bid Envy, strife and discord cease. Fill the whole earth with

Heaven’s peace.

 

 

Meanderings by Art by Marianne

Hi Friends,

I thought I would start my first blog post by introducing myself.  I spent all my “growing up” years (no “serious” artist ever really grows up) in rural towns in Northern California and Southern Oregon.  I was (and still am) a very active and rebellious youngster. Because of this I started painting when my Mom bought me my first paint set as a way to “calm her down” (her words).  Creating artwork has been a calming force in my life very since. I did my first oil on canvas painting in Junior High School and fell in love. (Just as I side note; can you imagine, in this day and age, a Junior High art teacher giving his/her students oil paints?  This teacher is still one of the super stars of my childhood memories.) While oil painting continues to be my favorite medium I have recently been experimenting with mixed media and acrylic.

A few years ago, God opened my heart and mind to the idea that I should begin using my artwork to minister, teach, worship and further His Kingdom here on earth. (1 Peter 4:10-11 and Ephesians 4:11-16).  God has blessed me accordingly with opportunities to show my artwork at galleries in California and Oregon and it is included in private collections.  My painting titled “I Will Pour out My Spirit on All My People, Acts 2:18” has been published in two Christian magazines.  I currently curate the Art of Faith art gallery and annual art show at Fremont Presbyterian Church. I love teaching and sharing my love of art with others.  It is a great blessing for me to see others be inspired and encouraged to create art.  

 I’ve titled my blog “Meanderings” because when I think about my time here in this place (we call it “life on earth”), that’s the visual image that comes to mind.  God’s word teaches us in James 4:13-15; “Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your Life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “if it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 

So, like a stream, I meander through this life, with God as my channel, determining my course, listening for and trying to follow His will, trying hard to love people and to do things in a way that brings Him glory until I’m called Home.  For me there is no higher calling. 

Thank you for reading.

“I will pour out my Spirit on all my people.”  Acts 2:17

Mixed media acrylic and paper on canvas.

I will pour out my spirit on ALL my people
Acts 2:17