Today I listed a new item in the shop: the Line and Feather Advent Series "Darkness to Light".
The Christmas season is more often marked by stress than peace, more chaos than rest. For me, the only thing that'll shake me out of my frenzied shopping list-making and schedule juggling is to STOP AND THINK for a minute about what it is I'm even celebrating at Christmas.
One way to do this is to recognize the season of Advent, a practice that is centuries old. It's a time of waiting for Christmas and what that day in history represents; of remembering the Israelites in their waiting for the promised Messiah; of looking to the present hope and future restoration that is promised to us in Christ.
So, I've created this little print set as a visual cue to slow down, stop, and think. It includes 4 designs, one for each week of Advent. Each piece is a watercolor illustration with a calligraphic quote. The idea is that you keep all four images in a frame (5"x7", an easy size to find) and each Sunday, switch to the next print on display. The series culminates in a design to reveal on Christmas Eve.
This isn't your typical holiday decor.
For one, there's the word death in the quote from Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel. Wait a second; what kind of sick holiday wall art talks about death? Where's the little sparkly elves making gifts? Where's jingle bells and hall-decking?
The whole verse reads:
O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight
Here's the thing. This song about death and gloom resonates with me on a deeper, gut-level than the more cheerful trappings of Christmas do, however much I enjoy those things. Life is so hard. Death sucks. You know the feeling you get when you've lost someone close to you, or have to watch your child in pain, or experience a broken relationship, or even just turn on the news to zone out for a few minutes and get knocked completely off course by the violence you see. The feeling of, it shouldn't be like this!
Recognizing Advent is to sit in that weighty reality, but also to look with hope towards the coming daybreak, even when (especially when) the night sky is so inky and dark that it feels like the sun does not and could not exist.