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Tag Archives | san jose artist

Tree of Leaf-angelization

Today’s Advent Art Meditation is from Matthew 4:14-16. Scroll down to “Thursday”.

JN800_Autumn Walk Among the Leaves © Jen Norton

“Autumn Walk Among the Leaves”

We have a humongous tree in our front yard. It’s the tallest tree on the block, and I don’t mean slightly taller. It’s literally three times higher than any other tree. I use it as a landmark for people to find my house. When I point out my tall tree to someone in the neighborhood, they usually look up and say, “Wow, I didn’t even notice that!” How could they miss it? But then I think most of us live our lives, nose down, on auto-pilot, thinking about whatever it is we need to think about that day. We forget to look up and notice the foliage.

God knows we’re busy, so in the proper season, he relinquishes the leaves down into our world. My tree drops thousands upon thousands of leaves each fall, and not just on our yard. With the help of the wind it shares them with ALL the neighbors. I’m pretty sure my tree keeps several gardeners employed throughout the winter months. Some immediately clean the leaves away. Some might get really annoyed and wish I’d cut my tree down. But some may relish the leaves that bring the fall mood and change of season. And the children, especially, will rake them up and then revel in jumping into the middle of the pile.

In today’s verse, Jesus has just returned from his temptation episode in the desert to find his cousin John the Baptist  arrested. He leaves Nazareth and moves to Capernaum, fulfilling one of Isaiah’s prophesies about people from those lands living in darkness now seeing the light. Jesus begins his mission to teach people to reform their lives. He gathers his disciples, growing their budding faith. They will later travel like the leaves in the spirited wind to new lands to share the Word. Some who hear will welcome the new season; some will not.

God’s love is like my tree, grounded, providing life, branching out. We are like the leaves. We begin as buds and grow to big green leaves. As the green of youth leaves us, we take on our full colors and eventually ride the winds of our talents to help spread the message of love. Within the seasons, God is always creating and we are part of it, whether we are aware of it or not. I hope as you celebrate Christmas this weekend, wherever the wind blows you, you will be like the children reveling in the “leaves” of your friend and family tree and the mystery of the season. It’s your time to notice.

You can purchase this little illustration here.

Consider the Lilies

Lillies and Birds © Jen Norton

Lilies and Birds

Today’s Advent Art Meditation is from John 3: 16-21

If you’ve ever been to a football game, you’ve probably seen people holding up signage with today’s verse which begins: “God so loved the world that he gave his only son…” (who started that tradition anyway?) Think about what it would be like to give your only child to a cause, knowing he’d be harmed and killed. Military parents take that chance all the time. Abraham was going to burn his only son upon God’s request. Personally, I wouldn’t be so willing so I’m glad I’m not a biblical character. The point is, God went all the way. He gave all he could so we would not be lost to darkness.

My dad was a neat freak and a bit of a perfectionist. When he died, the priest who was going to facilitate his funeral service asked us what one thing would sum up his philosophy. Almost without hesitation, my two sisters and I said, “Never do anything half-way.” He wasn’t an easy-going guy. He wasn’t easy on us. But I guarantee if you hire me or either of my sisters for a job, it will get done and it will get done well. We’re not half-way people either.

God isn’t a half-way God. He doesn’t want us to be half-way children. I’m not saying we have to do everything perfectly. But we do have to try our best and practice to get better. Just in case we have trouble believing the teacher He sent, He gave us clues in nature. In Matthew’s gospel Jesus says, “Look at the birds of the air” and “Observe how the lilies of the field grow.” God cares for them, so how much more will he care for you whom he loves? Seek Him first and all shall be added.

The lilies know how to trust in Creation. The birds do not worry. But somehow, way back when, we stepped out of that Garden of Eden and became ego-driven beings. So in spite of technically having all we need, we have forgotten how to share and have become riddled with anxiety and insecurity. In controlling our environment, we’ve forgotten how to be part of it. We need a teacher. God sent the only guy qualified for the job…His son.

The Christian model is what I know, but even if you’re a follower of another belief system, you can observe the flowers and the birds. See how the flowers grow in clumps, supporting each other? See how they burst forth with all their color just before they die? See how the birds fly along the currents in amazing formations? We may still need to attend class, but they don’t need a teacher…they just know.

This original has been sold, but you can still purchase a signed Art Card here.