In My Opinion—

Season’s Greetings, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa–Does it really matter WHAT we say as much as it matters HOW we say it?  This season of the year is about love, respect, forgiveness, and togetherness, so no matter what I say to someone, I need to say it with love and generosity. 

I went to an Advent class at my church on Saturday morning, December 7, and the subject of the class was the Jesse tree and the reading from the book of Isaiah about the Jesse tree and how it relates to Advent and the coming of the birth of Jesus, which those of us who are Christians celebrate later this month.  It was an interesting retreat on a busy Saturday.

I mention this because the focus on Scripture began with a piece of art and a discussion about that piece of art.  Shortly after class started, we were looking at Marc Chagall’s interpretation of “The Tree of Jesse,” and seen in the context of this holy season, it was powerful.  The first Scripture reading for the second Sunday of Advent is from Isaiah 11:1-10, and that Scripture is included in Chagall’s painting.  I’ve included an image of the painting below.

Chagall uses his gifts as an artist to illustrate his concept of creation and of Messiah.  The Jesse tree is in the painting.  Adam and Eve are there.  If you look closely, you’ll see the snake making its way up the tree.  The figures in the painting appear to me to be lined up to climb the ladder that leads to the crucifix, and I can’t help but notice that the ladder stops at the Crucifixion.  It’s as high as anyone can go.

My Saturday morning at church made me even more aware of the place that all of the arts have in our lives.  It isn’t just the visual arts.  The ARTS are music, and theater, and drama and writing and all forms of creativity.  So many things that we do in our lives require us to be creative, and  many times we don’t even realize that we ARE being creative.  Or that our friends are.  Or our children. 

We are blessed in The Watercolor Society of Indiana to be able to associate on a regular basis with other creative people.  Everyone doesn’t have those opportunities.  And as artists and members of an art group, we need to keep insisting that children especially–all children–have access to the same creative opportunities offered to us.  It may be expensive to study the Arts–but it’s worth it, and life is more joyous because people have the opportunity to test and exhibit their creativity.

But that’s just my opinion.

I wish you the blessings of the season, my friends, and I am grateful to know you.