Journey with John
“Clear off your desks and get out your paint supplies,” were not words I liked to hear as a child. I viewed it as a burden to bear. That big, empty piece of paper was intimidating to me. We were told to create a picture of our own design. I wasn’t much of an artist, a reality quickly confirmed as I looked at my contemporaries who quickly filled the canvas with what I deemed great works of art. My artistic fears remained until a teacher, with great understanding and compassion, introduced me to the magic of artistic expression.
She came waltzing into our room one day, announcing, “Today, we’re going to paint!” Inwardly, I moaned. She was passionate about art and told us to be gentle with the brushes and careful with paints, for they were tools of the trade and deserved our healthy respect. She said they were gifts – our “partners in creation.” She moved around the classroom, emphasizing that the blank canvas was the artist’s best friend. She said it came ready to receive our most noble ideas and would record them honestly, exactly as we dictated. She preached that every painting should receive our very best effort because it expressed our hidden dreams. Our paintings were a way to open our soul to others. To her, every painting was a marvel.
I owe her a great deal. While I never became a master with the brush, I did learn to look forward to the command “clear off your desks and get out your paint supplies.” I really hadn’t thought about Mrs. Reed for a long time, but as this Advent season stretches before us, she comes fondly to mind. She would see this glorious season of preparation as a great empty canvas to be filled with our best efforts. Advent is a time to bring dreams into our reality. Advent is a time to create a masterpiece that will guarantee a fulfilling future. We have been given special tools to use. We’ve been given healthy minds that lead the way to making sound decisions. We’ve been given hearts that move us to love with generosity and compassion. We’ve been introduced to a Savior who is the needed inspiration for dreaming big dreams and bringing them to life. This Christ, whose birth we await, teaches us that we are works of art – the design of God – and thus works of art. We, too, are artists. God has given us the empty canvas of Advent to paint a future that embraces the Prince of Peace. Welcome this opportunity to create a work of art with your life that will bless and beautify the earth. Advent is our blank canvas of hope.