Art at Christmas
Hi folks! Yet again another Christmas season is upon us. I don’t know about you but to me it feels like each year passes quicker and quicker.
How do you know when it’s Christmas? Do you know what I mean? When is that moment for you when you sit down and say, “Christmas is here!”? Is it when you start buying the presents? Buying the turkey? The day after Halloween when the shops and super markets start playing Christmas songs over and over? For me Christmas began when I sat down at 4am to write this blog, on the first day of my holiday, and I put on the Muppets Christmas Carol.
Do you know the film? The Muppets re-tell the great tale written by Charles Dickens in song a comedic fashion. Michael Caine plays the role of Scrooge, a tight-fisted old miser who hates everything and everyone, who is visited by three ghosts who shoe him the error of his ways.
A lot of people these days feel Christmas is just for children. These are often the people who have forgotten the real meaning of Christmas; a celebration of life during hard times; a chance to give something of ourselves to make others smile. If the entire world did this for each other what a pleasant world this would be.
I digress… Christmas is a great time to celebrate what we have, the people we love, and acknowledge things we take for granted throughout the year: a roof over our head, food on our table and even a blanket to keep warm when it starts getting chilly. I have been in that dark place where I’ve had none of these things, so I appreciate it all the more today. For now, however, let me give to you today a gift; a special journey through art.
Art and Christmas have always had a special connection for me, both in my own work and that of others. Below I want to share with you three of my favourite pieces of art and the story behind them.
Flying Over the Mountains
On a cold night in the mountains there lives a family who have taken to the mountains to enjoy the Christmas period together. No internet, phone, or mail. Looking out the window a young child sees a silhouette in the sky. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It’s Santa Claus and his reindeers, flying through the sky spreading joy and cheer to boys and girls all over the world; taking the message of love and hope through the world with a simple gift. That’s what Christmas is about.
Christmas in New York – Thomas Kinkade
The story of the Christmas tree…There are many stories of the Christmas tree from a gift of celebration in Europe to this one I wish to share with you now… The first person to bring a Christmas Tree into a house, in the way we know it today, may have been the 16th century German preacher Martin Luther. A story is told that, one night before Christmas, he was walking through the forest and looked up to see the stars shining through the tree branches. It was so beautiful, that he went home and told his children that it reminded him of Jesus, who left the stars of heaven to come to earth at Christmas
Sharing love when decorating the tree together is one of the greatest joys I remember as a child. Again, I have known times with my family when we decorated a tree, and a time with no tree at all.
Life in a manger…
One of the deepest stories that surrounds Christmas is the story of a baby that was born to bring life, love and hope to all. Even today this sentence has more truth in it that many know. In the world of difficulty and struggle for many, it still strikes me how little has changed in history. Oh yes, many new gadgets have been made since the year 0 BC, but have life’s situations really changed that much? There are still people running from oppression, injustice and fear, hiding where they can, desperate to keep their families safe; children being born into this world in situations we can scarce imagine. Yet there is hope. Beyond all the material giving of Christmas lies something much deeper. The story of a baby who grew into a man that even to this day brings light, hope and love to all.
My prayer for you this year is to see the deeper meeting behind Christmas. Life, love and hope. In a world of darkness there is so much colour and light to be seen.
Have a wonderful Christmas from all of us at Art from the Heart