…And a Little Child Will Lead Them
By Tom Wachunas
A SHOOT WILL COME UP FROM THE STUMP OF JESSE; FROM HIS ROOTS A BRANCH WILL BEAR FRUIT. THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD WILL REST ON HIM - THE SPIRIT OF WISDOM AND OF UNDERSTANDING, THE SPIRIT OF COUNSEL AND OF MIGHT, THE SPIRIT OF THE KNOWLEDGE AND FEAR OF THE LORD - AND HE WILL DELIGHT IN THE FEAR OF THE LORD. HE WILL NOT JUDGE BY WHAT HE SEES WITH HIS EYES, OR DECIDE BY WHAT HE HEARS WITH HIS EARS…THE WOLF WILL LIVE WITH THE LAMB, THE LEOPARD WILL LIE DOWN WITH THE GOAT, THE CALF AND THE LION AND THE YEARLING TOGETHER; AND A LITTLE CHILD WILL LEAD THEM.
- Isaiah 11:1-3; 6
I knew from about the age of nine years or so that I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. This desire was an inspired one, implanted and nourished by many hours of looking at pictures of religious paintings by the great masters. And that of course would include Nativity scenarios. Back then, I wanted to make art that engaged people the way that those images I had seen in encyclopedias and art history books had engaged me.
I feel compelled to tell you that in retrospect, I realize that the power of those images to hold me in their thrall was not so much from the painters themselves (with all due respect to their superlative artistic skills), but from the subject matter. More precisely, I now know I was being touched, indeed even called by Christ Himself.
My continuing prayer is that Christmas in our culture cease being just an annual “season” straddled with obligatory outward trappings and clichéd rituals. And so it is that once again I offer my annual Christmas card image (above) not for your consideration as an example of high fine art in the historic tradition of the masters (I was never so gifted), but rather in the spirit of an enthralled child, called to follow and celebrate the Way, the Truth and the Life.
May all of you reading this ask for and receive the same, in the name of Jesus. Amen.