|Ink on paper. 11.16.13|
However it seemed like the more I thought about it, the harder it was to come up with a good image for it. I even made a painting (as the deadline drew closer) but decided to start over again since it just didn't have the meaning behind it that I'd hoped for. It wasn't genuine, and the design felt rigid and cookie-cutter like. I was browsing around online looking for any more inspiration I could perhaps tack onto the painting when I came across a verse that I really loved. And what do you know, it was from Isaiah! Isaiah 46:4, which says:
"I have made you. I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you."
I wondered if this verse might relate to the theme of Waiting and realized that to me, it absolutely does: it is about God's promises to us while we're waiting. He doesn't deny that "in this world, you will have trouble" (John 16:33), but He promises that as we wait for Him to return and "make all things new", He will carry and sustain us. The previous verse continues "But take heart! I have overcome the world." As we celebrate Christ's birth, we can remember the promises He gave to strengthen and sustain us as we wait-- wait through the suffering, the bone-wearying labor of life; assured in our faith that it will never be more than we can bear, and that we will grow stronger the more we depend on Christ's promises. "When I wait, you strengthen my heart" (Psalm 27:14).
With this inspiration, I tore off a new sheet of paper and dove into a second painting. This one was much more loose and expressionist. I incorporated the star that shone above the birthplace of Jesus, and an inky black night being furled away from the light of the star, where the verse is descending. It brings to mind another great Christmas verse, also from Isaiah (9:2): "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness, a light has dawned."