My Christmas cards this year are a little different. Historically, I have painted white birches to reflect our street address. In fact, I had them painted early in the season. However, the painting, was flat. It felt lifeless and tired. So I let it settle trying to decide if I should give it another go.
Christmas preparation went on, and the cards loomed large on the procrastination list. Commissions took precedence and my creative mind and hands were busy. Until the fresh arrangement arrived in my home. It’s life and sparkle called to me. Most of my painting time had been spent controlled and accurate. This arrangement cried to be painted spontaneously. A small piece of paper, my brushes, my palette, sitting at he breakfast counter, I painted directly from life. No sketching, no planning, no thought other than to capture the charm of this beautiful, traditional arrangement that so represented the holiday spirit to me.
Then the tragedy that was Sandy Hook happened, and I, along with the world wept. My little (only 6″ x 6″) painting took on more importance to me. It reminded me of the small lives lost, it begged the light to be kept alive. For me, for them, for the world.
I struggled with whether to use it as my Christmas card image as it broke with tradition. Change. Not many people are comfortable with it. I’ve always felt it keeps things fresh.
No one will ever positively answer the definitive “why” of Newtown, Connecticut. No one will come up with the perfect solution on how to keep it from happening again. But it’s certain that if something doesn’t change, these tragedies will continue.
For many this is the most joyous of seasons. No one can imagine this Christmas for any of those poor families. Everyday for the rest of their lives they will live with a piece of their heart violently torn out. So, in their memory, I’m going to ask myself and you: Can you change?
For all those souls lost, can you take a moment during this holiday season to see if you can let go of petty anger, grudges, and perceived wrong doing. Can you give someone a break? Let it go? (What do you win when you’re proven right? Satisfaction? Or do you win the loss of a friend or family member?) Can you forgive someone (even yourself)? Can you try to make a difference in our world by behaving differently?
It’s my goal this season to let the light in. I hope you can join me.