Peace on Earth isn’t just for Christmas

“Peace on Earth”…no, I’m not starting to sing Christmas songs already. I’m a strict “not until after Thanksgiving” kind of girl. But in light of recent events there has been a lot of clamoring for peace.

America seems more and more divided lately – republicans vs. democrats, trump supporters vs. never trumpers, black vs. white, standers vs. kneelers. There seems to be no end to the disunity that clutters my newsfeed. Is there no peace to be found?

I want to introduce (or perhaps reacquaint) you with an artist who is famous for his depictions both of war and of peace.

peace and picasso 1

Peace and War

Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga, Spain in 1881. His father was an artist, who happened to like painting pigeons or doves. Picasso’s early paintings were not necessarily political in nature, and he gained quite a following rather quickly. He is frequently referred to as the father of cubism.

Picasso’s approach to art began to change radically in 1937, when he painted one of his most famous paintings:

peace and picasso 2
“Guernica,” by Pablo Picasso. (1937)

This painting was in direct response to the Italian and German carpet bombing of the Spanish city of Guernica. Picasso began to see his art as more than just a unique decoration. He had a message and wasn’t afraid to speak it through his art.

“What do you think an artist is? …he is a political being, constantly aware of the heart breaking, passionate, or delightful things that happen in the world, shaping himself completely in their image. Painting is not done to decorate apartments. It is an instrument of war.” Picasso

Guernica came to symbolize the abject horrors of war and was used as a rallying cry for the Peace Movement of the 1940s. Picasso himself became an active participant in the movement and in speaking out against totalitarian regimes.

Peace and Picasso

In 1949, Picasso painted another watershed work.

peace and picasso 3
“La Colombe” (The Dove) by Picasso, 1949

Entitled simply “La Calombe” (the Dove), the lithograph was featured on posters celebrating the Paris Peace Conference. Picasso’s daughter was born that same year and he gave her the name Paloma, which is the Spanish word for dove. She is in her father’s arms in the family photograph above.

Since then, Picasso’s dove has been modified numerous times and used as personification of peace.

peace and picasso 4

Lasting Peace

For centuries, many different cultures have used a dove to symbolize peace.  Art and images have great power to shape the way in which we think. Sadly, true and lasting peace will require more than a lovely painting, a change in one’s profile picture, or a serene bird.

The Scriptures speak of a King who is coming who will “speak peace to the nations”. At His very birth, the angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” His peace did not come with political unity, but with His brutal death in the place of sinners.

There is a day coming when wars and divisions will cease. There is a time approaching when reports of mass shootings and natural disasters will not grace the news headlines. True peace will reign when our Prince of Peace returns. And oh what a glorious day that will be:

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,

and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.

And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,

the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,

the Spirit of counsel and might,

the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.

And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.

He shall not judge by what his eyes see,

or decide disputes by what his ears hear,

but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,

and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;

and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,

and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.

Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,

and faithfulness the belt of his loins.

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,

and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,

and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;

and a little child shall lead them.

The cow and the bear shall graze;

their young shall lie down together;

and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,

and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.

They shall not hurt or destroy

in all my holy mountain;

for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD

as the waters cover the sea.

Amen. Come and bring your peace, Lord Jesus.

 

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Give a man a fish….paint a man a fish?

There’s an oft-quoted saying that says “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” But what happens if you paint a man a fish?

My daughters attend a classical school where we talk a lot about Truth, Goodness and Beauty. So when Christmas rolls around and I’m thinking about teacher gifts, I try to think along those lines. Food, candles, and lotion seem to be hot teacher gifts every year, and this year I wanted to think “outside the box” and look for gifts that were true, good and beautiful.

My oldest daughter is in fourth grade and this year in science, they are studying sea creatures. Laura’s first acrylic painting was a jellyfish.

© Laura Gabel, “Jellyfish Dance”. Acrylic on canvas, 13.5 x 16.5. Private collection.
© Laura Gabel, “Jellyfish Dance”. Acrylic on canvas, 13.5 x 16.5. Private collection.

I thought it would be fantastic if we were able to purchase that painting for her teacher. I first spoke with my daughter to see if she liked the idea. She was exuberant in her approval. So we contacted the other parents, who were also enthusiastic and quickly donated towards the purchase.

We were all amazed when Laura surprised us by painting a companion painting to our jellyfish. This incredible Austin Blue Crab:

© Laura Gabel, “Austin Blue Crab”. Acrylic on canvas, 13.5 x 16.5. Private collection.
© Laura Gabel, “Austin Blue Crab”. Acrylic on canvas, 13.5 x 16.5. Private collection.

When the paintings arrived, I contacted the parents and we arranged a private art viewing from the back of my car after school one afternoon. It was difficult to tell who was more excited – the parents or the students. I spoke with our art teacher, who has guest blogged for us previously, and she agreed to take some time during the students’s art class to allow the students to sign the backs of the paintings for their teacher. They were thrilled!

give a fish

Finally, the last day of school before Christmas arrived. When I walked in the classroom during the party with a large wrapped present, the students all started jumping up and down in excitement and grabbed their teacher to open the present. They crowded around her so much that it was difficult to get a picture. She was astounded at the gift.

give a fish

The students are so proud our “their” paintings and take great pride in having real art, real personal art in their classroom. Not only do they have something beautiful adorning their classroom, they have a visual representation of the truth of what they are studying in science, and they experience the joy of giving a good gift to their teacher.

paint a fish

What will you give?

I know we are past the gift giving season of the year. How many of us received gifts that were true, good and beautiful? How many of us gave such gifts? Or did we, on occasion, buy a gift because we felt “obligated” or we rushed and grabbed something that was just available in our budget? Did you receive gifts that felt a bit like the giver didn’t really put much effort into the gift?

Let me encourage you to think about truth, goodness and beauty when you give a gift. Give some art! Yes, it can be expensive; can you perhaps give a group gift? What about you and your siblings getting a portrait of the grandchildren painted for your parents?

Let’s give gifts that nourish both the giver and the receiver. Painting a fish may not feed the stomach of my daughter’s teacher, but it is feeding her mind and soul for a lifetime. And her students will be fed as well.

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Do you need an Epiphany?

“Happy Epiphany!” “Have a joyous Epiphany!” “Wishing you a blessed Epiphany” I’m guessing you’ve neither given nor received any such greetings this holiday season. It’s entirely possible you have no idea that January 6th is Epiphany. It’s also possible that you may not even know what Epiphany is, or why I’d be writing a blog post on it….

Epiphany is traditionally observed 12 days after Christmas to commemorate the arrival of the Magi to adore the Christ child. Now, the Bible provides scant details on their visit, but Christians throughout history have added in their own details, celebrations and observations.

In our home, about the only celebration we do for Epiphany is that we un-decorate from Christmas. Not actually on January 6th, but the closest Saturday to it. I like to run the Christmas season all the way through until then. So clearly, it’s not my grand observance of this event that spurs my blogging.

No, it’s actually a painting (convenient for an art related blog…) that spurs me to write this time. When I was in college, I was required to take an art appreciation class. I had never considered myself much of an appreciator of art, so I was more than bit intimidated.

I remember having to choose a painting and write a paper about it, specifically about what the artist might be trying to convey through their work. For reasons I do not remember I chose this painting by Sandro Botticelli.

 

 

epiphany

As I began studying the painting, called the Adoration of the Magi, I discovered that Botticelli had painted several different Adorations and as I studied them, I saw some interesting differences. The older paintings of the Magi seemed more formal, the Christ child more distant. The newer paintings were much more intimate. Seriously doubting myself, I timidly wrote a paper positing that Botticelli had undergone some type of spiritual journey as he painted.

I was pleasantly surprised when my professor returned my paper and validated my conclusions. For the first time, I felt like I “got” an artist – that I could look at someone’s art and really understand what was going on in the work; it was more than just “oh, that’s a nice painting.” In a way, it was my own personal “epiphany”.

Epiphany
Do you need an Epiphany?

Now, I’m not writing to encourage you to go take an art appreciation class, or hang a Botticellli print on your wall – though both of those would enrich your life, I’m sure. It’s the beginning of a new year, the time for reflecting on the year that is ending and making resolutions for the new year. What are those things that intimidate you? Are there topics/subjects that seem beyond your comprehension? Is there a skill that continually eludes you? Why not make this year the year to conquer those fears? What step can you take this week to climb that mountain? Share in the comments and we can all encourage each other!

Oh, and Happy Epiphany 🙂

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Driftwood and adoration

I don’t know anyone that doesn’t love a surprise gift. I have had very few gifts that have left me speechless. But for Ken and I last Friday, this one was an eye popper! This handcrafted driftwood sculpture stands about 19 inches high. Stunning, like nothing we have ever seen. See what you think:

driftwood and adoration

This was truly a heart gift from our friends Jo & Bill and everything about it resonates with our personalities, our decor (simple) and our love for the Creator.

Driftwood is called “marine debris,” the remains of trees that have been washed into the ocean. To be used properly it must be brushed and bleached. It doesn’t sound very inspiring, yet for ages, man has created art from driftwood.

As I pondered the uniqueness of this gift. I felt the simplicity and elegance of taking such dead, weathered wood and with tiny little nails making a thing of beauty. 

driftwood and adoration

While it is a striking “thing,” the real beauty is that it calls us to the most marvelous act of sacrifice. God, the author of all things, stepping out of His heavenly home and suiting up in flesh, as a baby in a simple stable, laid in a simple manger, made from wood. Simple, yet totally incomprehensible in many ways.

Some people worship great art; some folks worship icons. But God is Spirit and He alone is meant to be adored and worshiped in spirit and in truth

driftwood and adoration

You may not be able to craft a driftwood sculpture, but you can create an atmosphere of adoration in the simplest of ways. Here are a couple of ways I have found:

  • Sing to Him
  • Speak in your heart to Him
  • Love others like He loves

You will be creating if you do those three things, creating a life pleasing to him, a life of being more like Him.

We seem to be awash with lovely blessings this year, our handmade quilt,  this sculpture, the support of my sister, brother, brothers in law, our family, friends, church family. Truly our Father gives us all things richly to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17). How have you been made rich in your heart and life? How determined are you to create an atmosphere of adoration this season?

 

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Tidings of Chaos and Noise

Does it feel like your world is too full of chaos and noise instead of comfort and joy this season? Too often lately, I’ve felt more like this picture:

chaos and noise

My calendar is too full. I’ve forgotten yet another appointment; I’ve missed another friend who said she wanted to get together. A different family has said “maybe after the holidays” when I’ve tried to schedule something. Not criticisms, just reality. I’m busy. You’re busy.

My “to do” list has overflowed my calendar and endless “post-it” notes are scattered around to vainly try to cut through the noise of obligations and remind me of the endless tasks that need to be done. Everything seems “urgent” these days.

There are gifts to buy and wrap, packages to send, cards to address, cookies to bake. And that’s just this week! Christmas carols remind me that the reason for the season is the Prince of Peace, but my world feels at odds with that at the moment.

Can you relate? Does life feel a bit out of control for you? Do you want to cover your ears and scream – if only to blot out the external noise for just a moment?

As I was rushing home the other day from a bevy of errands, I was convicted by hearing the song “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” on the radio. I know that song, I’ve heard it many times before. But a line grabbed my attention “O Hush the noise, ye men of strife/and hear the angels sing.”

Did you catch that? “Hush”, hush the noise? I don’t remember that being in the song…. And as it turns out, that line is in a 3rd verse that is often not included in hymnals. The story behind the hymn is fascinating, so do have a read over at that link.

What I need is not more time or less stuff to do. I need to HUSH. I need to stop striving, stop rushing and just HUSH. Can I hear the angels singing? Have we missed the message of that first Christmas in all the noise of our “preparations”? Take a minute – or several – and just stop what you’re doing. I know, you have too much to do. Stop anyway.

Take a listen.

He has come, He is coming again and that day will bring real and lasting peace. Let’s not miss that promise of peace in all the noise of our day.

Merry Christmas!!

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Joy for the Sad

There are some paintings you just can’t part with. The painting below, “I’ll Fly Away” was really my first pastel painting. 

© Laura Gabel, "I'll Fly Away". Pastel on art.
© Laura Gabel, “I’ll Fly Away”. Pastel on art.

I didn’t like pastel, I thought it was messy, dusty and difficult. I persevered somewhat, but my teacher Laurie McKelvie was so passionate and so encouraging I just had to plod on. Kudos to her; I ended up loving pastel, learned about the amazing history and longevity of pastel, and developed as a pastel painter. But this blog isn’t about that story, as wonderful as it is.

I wouldn’t sell this painting, not because it’s my first, but because it is somewhat autobiographical. It’s really about the story of how I saw myself.  I was determined to compose and design a painting that portrayed the old me. My art was born out of some very raw pain, sadness and hurt. If you are not familiar with how I came to art very late in my life, please do read my story

When you look at the painting you see a young, unhappy girl gazing at the bluebird, wishing and hoping she could fly away. Believing that beauty was somehow in her future, that freedom was right around the corner. Sadness and pain is on her face but the bluebird is her hope of transformation. 

Finding True Joy

We hear so much about “Joy to the World” during this season and the joy of our Savior’s arrival is real. But as the light of His birth grows brighter and brighter, as we draw nearer to Christmas day there are others, for whom the days grow darker. Sadness overtakes them, loneliness beckons, darkness tries to overtake the light. 

But a prophet (Isaiah 61:1-3) promised that Jesus would come to comfort all who mourn, to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. That promise is real! In fact often when people see this painting they can’t possibly believe that this was me! But it was.

Here are some things I learned during this transforming time:

  • Misery loves company and it’s usually the wrong kind of company! Choose to be with those that will feed your soul with joy, not your sadness.
  • Practice looking for beauty in nature. Peace can be found in the quiet contemplation of His creation.
  • Concentrate on what you have rather than what you don’t have. This is important! All advertising points to what you must have in order to make you happy. But as we all know, the happiness of a new phone, car, dress doesn’t last long. So as my good friend Pam says, “turn your wanter off!”
  • Focus on the Light of the world. 

joy to the world

I’d love to know what you think of my first painting. How have you learned to repaint your life?

 

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What are you waiting for?

waiting of advent
The Annunciation by Leonardo DaVinci

Waiting…..it feels like we as a culture have lost patience with waiting. Our smart phones give us immediate access to anyone and anything we could want; our microwaves allow us to provide sustenance to ourselves (and our households) without the time it takes for a home cooked meal to be prepared. We have “self check out” lines in stores so we don’t even have to wait for a cashier.

My youngest daughter is enamored with the Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems. One of her favorites (and mine too, honestly) is called Waiting is Not Easy. In this book, Piggie wants to surprise her friend Gerald (the Elephant), but Gerald hates waiting. His moans and groans during his forced waiting are hilarious. In the end (I won’t spoil it all), Gerald finds out that Piggie’s surprise was more than worth the wait. In fact, it couldn’t even be enjoyed without the wait. Try as we may to eliminate waiting from our lives, sometimes it is absolutely necessary.

When it comes to art, waiting is often essential. Great works of art are not created in a brief moment. Appreciating art doesn’t happen in a fly by glance. We need time to create, time to enjoy, time to ponder.

The waiting of Advent

We are currently in the season of Advent, traditionally observed by the church universal as a time of waiting – waiting for the coming of the Messiah, of Jesus the Christ. First, as a celebration of His coming at Christmas, but also as a looking forward to His second coming at the end of time. I find it interesting that in a culture so obsessed with NOT waiting, the observation of Advent has fallen out of favor in many churches and families.

waiting of advent

Here in our family, we do observe Advent. We started our advent wreath this past Sunday. And we begin our advent calendar on December 1st. We try to combine a countdown of fun activities with decorations for a small Christmas tree in my daughters’ room and a nightly devotional reading.

waiting of advent

The wreath, the calendar, the decorations, the lights, all the visual trimmings that go along with this season bring a sense of wonder and beauty to our world. Children in particular are easily engaged through these tangible representations and through both the visual symbols and the devotional readings, we want to cultivate in our family a deep sense of delight in the waiting. The waiting will be worth it when the celebration of Christmas arrives. Not for the gifts, not even for the family that will be gathered in our home. The real joy will be found in the True Gift, the baby in a manger. That same baby who is our one day returning King. The waiting will be worth it.

waiting of advent

Are you waiting?

What about you? Do you dread the busy-ness of the holiday season. Maybe you’ve lost a family member and celebrating Christmas without them just doesn’t even seem doable this year. Maybe you just do Santa but don’t want to be bothered with all the “Jesus” stuff. Perhaps you celebrate Hannukah or Yule or nothing. Can I boldly challenge you to try one of the devotionals I linked to earlier? I know it may be WAY outside of your comfort zone. It may even make you angry that I would suggest it. But in this time of waiting, there is hope to be found. There is comfort and joy in abundance for the Lord is indeed come.

What are you waiting for?

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How to Find the Perfect Gift

Gift giving – never before in the history of mankind have we, as Americans, had the ability to buy so much stuff! The choices are overwhelming. In some cases if its a birthday or Christmas, the inner dialogue may go like this:

Gift Giver:I have no idea what to get this loved one, they have everything. I guess I’ll steel myself for the hunt, go to the mall and dredge up something for a gift that they hopefully will like and don’t have.”

Receiver:Hmm, it’s my birthday, I wonder what kind of strange, weird and unusable thing I’m going to get as a gift this year? Well, if I don’t like it I can always put it in the plastic storage bin in the garage, attic, basement or workshop. Shame on me, but perhaps I can “re-gift” it to someone else, but that always makes me feel so guilty. I know, I’ll drive about an hour away and give it to the Salvation Army, that will make me feel good. I’ll just hope and pray nobody asks about it.”

I often think of archeologists several hundreds of years from now, digging up our plastic bins, full of all those unwanted gifts. What will they think of another graveyard of cell phones, strange bacon cookers, sports team mugs, more miracle cleaners and miracle glues, collapsible garden hoses, banana trees, cheese graters, etc.

You could keep doing what you’ve always done or…

you can be like Denise, who commissioned a surprise painting for her husband’s birthday!

Denise:I have no idea what to get my dear husband Bill for a birthday gift, but I wonder what would really make him happy? I know, I’ll have Laura paint his favorite photo, the one with Bill and his grandson!”

While it’s more than a dinner out, a t-shirt, a mug, or even a new cell phone. This will be a treasure that can be passed down for generations; it speaks of a wonderful relationship that has special meaning. So let’s see how this incredible gift worked out.

The Gift

Prior to painting, I did sketches and thumbnails, as it was just a cell phone photo. It’s always better to work with the best photo possible!

I toned this 11 x 14 canvas light lilac, I wanted a warm glow to the painting: perfect gift

The pallet, the photo, my thoughts on the acrylic paint needed:

perfect gift

The first application of paint, darks and lights: perfect gift

Scary looking, but we are getting there: perfect gift

Refining some shapes and masses: perfect gift

Bill & Denise after church: perfect gift

Not a good photo, but the emotion is there!:perfect gift

A very happy Bill with Denise and me: perfect gift

Isn’t this a keepsake? Something that will last a lifetime! 

So next time you’re faced with the dilemma of getting a gift for that hard-to-buy-for loved one, consider investing in an original piece of art. I’d love to paint a treasured memory for you or as a gift. Contact me at laura@lgabel.com with your ideas.

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Merry Christmas

El_Greco_-_The_Nativity

Merry Christmas!! Hopefully you’re reading this post as you prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ with those you love. Perhaps you’ve stumbled upon this post and Christmas isn’t quite so “merry” this year, and loved ones are not gathered near. It’s possible you’re reading this post and you don’t really even celebrate Christmas, or at least don’t attach to it any specific religious significance. If that’s you, I hope you’ll read on, and I pray you will be encouraged.

Much like this El Greco painting, there is a baby in the center of my family’s celebration of Christmas. That baby is no ordinary baby; as the angel said to Mary, “You shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1: 31-33). 

How do you picture Jesus? There has been some buzz recently about a new artist recreation of what Jesus actually looked like. () But In El Greco’s nativity, Jesus, Mary and Joseph have the same appearance as El Greco’s own friends and neighbors. The song “Some Children See Him” imagines children seeing Jesus as “lily white,” “bronzed and brown,” “almond-eyed,” and “dark as they,” finally concluding that “The children In each diff’rent place Will see The baby Jesus’ face Like theirs.

I think most of us tend to imagine Jesus looking like us. But the prophet Isaiah says

“Who has believed what he has heard from us?

And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

For he grew up before him like a young plant,

and like a root out of dry ground;

he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,

and no beauty that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by men;

a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;

and as one from whom men hide their faces

he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Isaiah’s description doesn’t fit our imaginings. It certainly isn’t like most of the pictures I see of Jesus. We don’t often think of this passage when we think of baby Jesus in His little manger, but this passage gives us the reason Jesus came as a baby so many years ago. Isaiah continues:

“Surely he has borne our griefs

and carried our sorrows;

yet we esteemed him stricken,

smitten by God, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions;

he was crushed for our iniquities;

upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,

and with his wounds we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray;

we have turned—every one—to his own way;

and the Lord has laid on him

the iniquity of us all.”

Jesus came as a baby to go to the cross for sinners. He didn’t come just to be a good example or a good teacher. He didn’t come to start a revolution. He came to be crushed. He came to be stricken. He came to be pierced. He came to be smitten by God. For us. Not just for those of us who have Pinterest worthy homes; not only for those of with homes full of cheerful loving families. He came for wounded, broken, sinful people – for everyone who will turn to him. 

Christ is the true gift at Christmas. Almighty God took on human form and was born to a family in poverty. He would not grow up with wealth and comfort. He would not grow to assume worldly power. He would grow up to take a cross and die so that we might have forgiveness for sins and be reconciled to God. As the great missionary and pastor Paul of Tarsus once wrote, “[This is] the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” Not rich in stuff, but rich in that spiritual wealth that only comes through Christ.

That is the real message of Christmas. This year, see the manger in light of the cross.

If you are wondering how all this can be true or how it affects you, please have a read here and leave me a comment below.

Regardless of what your Christmas celebrations may or may not look like this year. For all who trust in Him, you have a Father who gave His son as the best gift you could ever receive. That is indeed cause for joy this season.

 

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Walk the Dog?

Today I received an email promotion from Etsy, an online site that specializes in selling handcrafted items. This email had tiny pictures of gift ideas. One of them was a young kid about 9 or so, who had a on a what? A fish tail from waist down. I thought, how weird, a handmade, knitted shark or mermaid tail. What do they do with it?

Then I realized how far removed I was from the world of “play”. You read this right, I wrote PLAY. I sat there for a moment and let my mind drift. I was 9 again, I realized I could spend hours with a friend playing mermaid on the beach, making up fanciful stories of adventure and romance or having a dressed up shark playmate try to wriggle and catch me– Lauri-Lei mermaid. The scene was filled with giggles and plain old fun.

It’s one week before Christmas and you are probably thinking, she’s nuts! I can’t PLAY, I have to ____________ (you fill in the blank).  Your list is probably as long as your arm and you probably only see PLAY as a luxury or perhaps think you don’t deserve to have any fun, you’ve got tooooooooooo much to do. 

 I’m guilty of hustling through life with my to do list on my back weighing me down.  Fortunately, God gave me a spouse who is not so hindered. I appreciate my husband because of his childlike nature; he’ll never grow up. Yet, my best times are when I am in his presence and he makes me laugh or something fanciful or strange comes out of his mouth. He reminds me to PLAY.

So that’s why I’m going to suggest that you stop, and look for an opportunity to PLAY during this holiday season. Play reduces stress hormones, allows you to get into a time warp (flow), can relax you or allow you to engage and connect with others.

SnowDog150

“Snow Dog” is a very popular painting, I always get comments on him, people love him. They imagine themselves outside romping in the snow. Have you ever watched a dog that loves the snow play in it? It’s amazing, zigging, zagging, rolling, eating and throwing snow in the air.  Cultivate play time during the rest of the month; make a memory not another list. Don’t just walk the dog, play with him or her!

PLAY for the pure JOY of it.  The real joy of Christmas is the celebration of Christ’s birth.  Be a child again and celebrate the joy of God, who put on flesh and walked among us.  

 

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