Thursday, December 5, 2019

ADVENT: Signs and Wonders


Digital Illustration for 
Rejoice! Advent Meditations with Joseph
Video Series
by Ascension Press



In this digital illustration, Joseph gazes at the wonders of the night sky. It would be hard to know what he thought of the starry sky, but one thing is certain. Joseph would see the stars and remember a God who keeps God's promises.

Remember when God told Abraham to look up to the sky and try to count the stars. "So will be the number of your descendants," God said. And Abraham became the father of nations, and ultimately, a forefather of Christ.

Today, we may see stars for their scientific wonder and the vastness of the cosmos. We may even ponder the greatness of the God who created such marvels. But we can also look to the night sky like Joseph—remembering that God is a God of promises and that God can be trusted to keep them.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Advent: Dark Morning



Digital Illustration for 
Rejoice! Advent Meditations with Joseph
Video Series
by Ascension Press



“Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.”

― George Iles

In this digital illustration, Joseph opens his door and gazes out into the pre-dawn darkness. Just before the birds begin to sing, all is quiet, peaceful, and still. 

Advent means "Coming." Many churches celebrate Advent as a season of hopefulness leading up to Christmas. If Christmas is the birth of the Light of the World, then Advent is the pre-dawn dark morning we find ourselves in as we awake from our sleep. 

Darkness can be a thing of fear and anxiety. In the dark, we are surrounded by unknowns and mysteries. But if you are assured that a light will soon arrive, the dark can be a place where we can live in hope and peace.


Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Advent: Early to Rise


Digital Illustration for 
Rejoice! Advent Meditations with Joseph
Video Series
by Ascension Press


This digital illustration imagines Joesph getting up in the early pre-dawn to begin his day with prayer. Some symbolic elements give both context to Joseph's humble surroundings as well as a foreshadowing of some themes the Incarnation would soon bring to us. There is a lamp of oil which reminds us of Advent light and a reminder to keep our lamps trimmed and burning in anticipation for the coming of the Christ. There is also a basin and towel to remind us of Christs's humility and service.

This Advent season, may we begin our days with prayer, humility and gratitude. May we keep our lamps lit with trust in God's promises.


Monday, December 2, 2019

Joseph the Carpenter


Oil on Panel for 
"Rejoice! Advent Meditations with Joseph" Journal
by Ascension Press

Advent at Work.
Joseph was a carpenter. He worked daily with his hands—chopping, sawing, hammering, chiseling, and sanding—making things for others. It must have been hot, tiresome, gritty work.  Joseph was a craftsman. It was a career that required skill, devotion, physical labor, and discipline. It also required humility and a dependence upon God and the economy of others to earn a living wage.
When I am working on a painting, my mind tends to delve deeply into a kind of meditative state. Part of me is problem–solving the task at hand. Another other part of me is always thinking about the meaning of the image being created. In this painting, Joseph is putting finishing touches on a table. I wonder what his mind was thinking about as he worked in the months prior to the birth of Jesus. I would imagine there would be mixed bag of anticipation, worry, fear, and insecurity. But there would also be joy, hope, peace, and love.
These are but some of the characteristics that could be found in the man whom God chose to be a father figure to the Christ. It would make sense that Jesus would grow up to be a man of devotion, humility and trust in God. Jesus spent much of his ministry at table with others. Even to this day, two thousand years later, we come to a table to remember Him.
As we ponder the gift of the incarnation this season, may we also give thanks for Joseph. May His devotion to God, family, and work be an inspiration in our Advent lives today.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Daybreak


6"x6' Oil on Panel

“The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.” –Selections from Romans 13:11-12
“Rise and Shine” is the inspiration for this year’s Advent artwork and design created for First Presbyterian Church, Franklin. The scriptures for this season are about visions, dreams and the dawning of God’s kingdom. The texts also call us to be active participants of God’s new day.
Advent is a time of twilight hope with dreams of peace and joy. As we continue to wake up, we rub our groggy eyes as they adjust to the soft light of God’s love surrounding us. It’s also the time to get up, stretch, and be about the daily work that God has called us to do. Through the gift of Advent, God is making us “Morning People.”
So wake up everybody. 
Let’s get ready to go to work for God’s kingdom. 
It’s going to be a beautiful day.