A few years ago, my father came to me with an idea for a drawing he wanted me to work on, one that would illustrate both the true meaning of Christmas, a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, and the spirit of Christmas in the form of Old Saint Nick. Unlike some who decry the overemphasis on one or the other, he wanted to demonstrate that there is room in the world for both, each in their proper place. He even had a title for the piece he had in mind. He called it, “The Fourth Wise Man.”
As with so many other projects, I added it to my list and promised that I would get around to it “some day.” I made an abortive start on it a few times, never quite hitting on a worthy vision of what my father had described. Every Christmas that came around, the idea would resurface but then quickly recede when inspiration failed to strike, as though its time had simply not yet come. Nine days ago, the idea surfaced again, and this time the inspiration came. I put pen to digital tablet and the simple drawing my father had requested began to take shape in much more elaborate form than even I had ever intended.
A year ago, I could not have painted this image. Not only did I lack the vision, but I would not have had the skills or the knowledge or the perseverance to see it through. In some ways, it almost seemed to paint itself, revealing itself in ways that were as surprising as they were satisfying. I had intended it as a gift for my father, but in the end it seemed to insist on recognizing my mother’s love of angels as well.
To all my family, friends and loved ones, this goes out to you also at this most joyous of Holiday seasons. In these trying times, it is often easy to forget that life is still good and we are all truly blessed in so many ways.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!