Personal Poems/Prayers

Christmas Snow (Isaak’s Painting)

This is my second grade son Isaak's painting. I think it's majestic and speaks to me on various levels. I wonder what message it sends to you? Even better, what Scripture might it evoke?

This is my second grade son Isaak’s painting. I think it’s majestic and speaks to me on various levels. I wonder what message it sends to you? Even better, what Scripture might it evoke?

Van Gogh famously saw God’s glory in the natural realm and heavenly bodies, the starry night and sunflowers and springtime sowers of seeds. Isaak captures the heart of Van Gogh’s Starry Night that showcases swirling colors of vibrant beauty in the sky, while a dark and sleepy village sits in partial darkness below.

I have Starry Night in my church office, and I like to point out that bright yellow light glows from the little homes of poor villagers, while the door and steeple of the cathedral at the center is void of the light. This was a damning statement by Van Gogh who had a mixed relationship with the church of his day. Ultimately, he thought God’s light and glory were more brightly visible in the non-human realm than the often darker landscape and shifting shadows of human religiosity.

Back to my Isaak’s painting: The Scripture that comes immediately to mind, especially in this Christmas season, is Matthew’s quotation of Isaiah 9 that kicks off this season of light and wonder:

“The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned” (Matt 4:16; cf. Isaiah 9:2).

Isaak captures the contrast between the dark land of blackened shadows — the dark cabin (or stable?) — and the great light dancing and throwing a party overhead. I see the Incarnation and Love coming down that bright white streak over the darkened home. Perhaps the building is a stable, and the dancing light is accompanied by the angelic hosts shining light and bringing good news to nearby shepherds still hiding in the shadows of the trees.

The other Scripture this painting evokes is my favorite winter time Scripture about snow also from Isaiah:

 “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18).

While many people fly south to escape our snowy winters, I am still in love with snow. (Though I prefer to observe it from inside a cozy study by a warm fireplace.) Nothing beats a fresh coat of white powder to cover the dark and muddy landscape. As I wrote elsewhere recently:

“There’s a special quality to Christmas snow. It seems somehow whiter and purer than ordinary snow. I like to think of Christmas snowflakes as myriads of mini-evangelists, each sent directly from heaven with the Isaiah’s message of grace and a clean slate. God said through Isaiah, “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). Snow covers all the tracks of my past missteps, and provides a new canvas to begin making new and more God-honoring trails.”

Isaak’s painting captures the first flakes of a cleaning and covering Christmas snow. I wish I could watch the scene be transformed as the dark shadows of earth are replaced by pure white snow. Come snow! Come Light! Cover our sins and drive the shadows away!

Finally, here is song to ponder as you stare a bit longer at Isaak’s painting. Well done, Isaak! Breathtaking! Van Gogh would be proud; I certainly am! This will likely become the cover art for a future book of mine.

Grace From Christmas Snow

Words and Music by Heather Sorenson

Snow comes down, grace is found, gentle slopes show that Christmas hope abounds. Winter chill, frosted hill, a snowy blast falling on the past we know.
Grace from Christmas Snow.

Life so cold, Love so bold; thund’ring clouds offer Heaven’s peace out loud. Frozen ground all around; hearts of stone melting in to life that grows. Grace from Christmas snow.
Grace from Christmas snow.

Hearts of ice, paid for twice with the price of Love.
Stains erased by wounds of grace and mercy from above.
And those with scars and those unmarred are equal in God’s eyes, Covered by His gift of snow falling from on high.

Snow comes down, grace is found, gentle slopes show that Christmas hope abounds.

And Snow meets earth, priceless worth, life is changed from a Royal Birth below. Grace from Christmas Snow.
Grace from Christmas Snow.

Dr. Jeremy Berg is the founding and Lead Pastor of MainStreet Covenant Church in Minnetonka Beach, MN, where he has served since 2010. He an Adjunct Professor of Theology at North Central University (Minneapolis) and Professor of Bible & Theology at Solid Rock Discipleship School. Jeremy earned a doctorate in New Testament Context under Dr. Scot McKnight at Northern Seminary. He and his wife, Kjerstin, have three kids, Peter, Isaak and Abigail.

2 comments on “Christmas Snow (Isaak’s Painting)

  1. Jonnie Goodmanson

    This is so beautiful! Mylo is sick but once she gets better I’ll return your books 😊

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

  2. This is beautiful in so many ways. I was an art major for several years and he has defined the light and colors overwhelming the dark. The trees in their tilting are almost scary but the colors and their brightness keeps your attention and draws you in…. I love this drawing/painting. There is a little darkness in all of us. But the power of Jesus will always draw us to the light. We can see the dark but the light, wins. Well done Isaak. Amazing.

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