Here is my new painting, “The miracle” and I hope you enjoy it. It will probably be my only christmas themed painting, but it felt right to paint at least one. I have included quite a few symbols in this, some obvious and others that do need a little thinking about, but they are all connected with the christian celebration of christmas. Take a look and see if you can find them……
Although we are half way through November, here in Spain, there is not yet one single sign of christmas. No shops draped in tinsel, holly and wind up Santa´s; No christmas lights strung up by the town hall; no christmassy films on the television……and what a joy that is. Christmas is in late December, or 6th January if you are Spanish and prefer “kings day”. I will write about christmas in Spain a little nearer the actual day.
My friends in England tell me that christmas started right after the stores cleared away the last of their Halloween chocolates, outfits, treat bags, pumpkins and everything else they could possibly paint orange and sell for the day of the saints, mostly loved for trick or treating. As the pumpkins both real and plastic left the store in came the tins of chocolates, advent calendars, “stocking fillers” nuts, dates, toys, christmas themed everything; you have to give it to the stores; they know how to milk christmas for everything they possibly can.
But for everyone else, a christmas that starts in October, in the stores, just isn´t right. It’s a day to celebrate the birth of Jesus, it should never become a gift and food giving frenzy. Now I´m no kill-joy, and I look forward to my christmas lunch and a gift just like every one else, but that is it. A lovely meal, which this year will be shared by both my daughters and son-in-law, and a visit by some wonderful friends later in the day. For me, this gentleness matches what christmas really means; the birth of a special baby, a family affair and the love of God.
The greed that can be seen in the shops, the sometimes outrageous demands of children for expensive electronic gifts, the stress of parents as they struggle to both earn the money and spend it all in two hectic months. Is this christmas? I don´t think so. I love the idea that everyone gets a gift on the special day, but do you or the children really need two, or ten gifts? Greed isn´t pleasant to watch at any time; christmas used as an excuse for it seems doubly wrong. Keep it simple, there should not be stress, and it definitely should not begin in October.
So, I have painted my one christmas painting. It does not contain a tree, Santa, reindeer or snow. Snow especially; where did the idea come from that Jesus was born in the snow?Please, folks, he wasn´t born in Sweden, although I seem to remember that both Santa and the snow idea came from Germany.
What my painting does contain is everything that is important to me about Christmas day. I wrapped the family of Jesus into a beautiful circle of their own, there are three in the picture…….but look and see what it all means to you.
I really hope none of you are stressing about christmas. Buy some nice food for a family lunch, and it really can be quite simple, with a few extras to make it feel like a celebration. Don´t let your children write out long lists of gifts they would like – you are not a mail order catalogue. Choose something for them, and keep it well within your budget……..apart from saving you from paying for christmas until next summer , you will be teaching your children to expect only what the family can afford. Make some decorations for your home. Two of my favourite decorations which I use every year are a felt star made in nursery school by one daughter, and a painted pine cone made by the other. Nothing I could ever buy could possibly bring me the joy that these two simple little tree hangings bring me every time I unwrap them and put them on the tree for another christmas day.
Have a good day everyone.