This Christmas season I am focusing a little more on the Advent themes than I have in the past. Before, it was a nice tradition: lighting the candles each Sunday at church as a sort of stretched out countdown to The Main Event. But I heard a couple podcasts about Advent and it got me all fired up about what it really means to live these weeks in intentional anticipation. The last thing any of us need is to add more stuff to do around Christmas though, right? So I’m not going nuts. All I’m doing is writing the week’s theme on our family fridge calendar and a corresponding Bible verse. And I’m just generally trying to be more aware of hope, peace, joy, and love on a daily basis.
Once I thought about these four things as they relate to art, different artsy vibes came to mind right away. In my mind, hope is vibrant and big. Peace is quiet and soft. Joy is bright and untamed. And love is sweet and red (cliche, right? I don’t know what to do about it. Red=love. Ask Taylor Swift. She knows.). Here are four pieces of art that I think communicate these themes:
Letting Go But Not Giving Up by Mia White McNary. I found this while I was searching for the perfect painting that encapsulates what hope looks like to me. When I saw it, I thought, “this is it!” Then I read the story behind the painting, and no wonder it inspires hope! Read the story here. Warning: it’s a tearjerker! Happy tears though. Hopeful tears!
Every Morning the World is Created by Lucy Campbell. If hope is an adrenaline rush, “peace like a river flows.” This little girl is totally at peace with her situation and it’s written all over her face. The birds (doves?) seem to sense her calmness. Her soul is still even as she is racing along on the wolf’s back. I think it’s so beautiful.
Let Me Tell You a Story by Alejandra Pinango. Like hope, joy is bright and wild, but a little more playful in my mind. Just like this painting. It reminds me of a bustling city that’s full of kind neighbors and fun events! I’m imagining lots of great murals and concerts and crazy classes here like pirate-themed Zumba or SUP pottery!
Red Poppy by Georgia O’Keeffe. Leave it to Georgia O’Keeffe to provide a painting that (to me anyway) communicates love. Obviously love is a common theme in all kinds of art, but I like this poppy because it seems to represent a universal love. It could be romantic, or friendly; a love for nature or penguin Christmas ornaments or Hallmark Christmas movies. It just says “love” to me.
How are you seeing Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love play out in your life this holiday season? Is there any art that brings these themes to mind for you? It’s a great time of year to be looking for it. It’s everywhere!