We often hear people speak of great artists as “gifted” individuals. I have even heard people use that term to describe my abilities in art. I’ve wondered about the deep implications of having a gift, and what impact that has on the way I practice my art.
First: a gift is something which is given. I didn’t drum it up myself, through my own wisdom or experience or hard work. It has been given to me by another — by God himself. It is based on His ability, His infinite creativity, his rich blessing and generous Heart. Yes, there is a sense of working hard to perfect the expression, in skill and insight, but ultimately, it points back to the giver.
Second: a gift is not something I deserve or have earned. It is based on God’s Goodness. Just as salvation is a gift given to us, which we do not receive as wages or something we have worked for, my art — the ability to see beyond the surface and then represent that reality in a way others can see, relate to and respond to — is because God chose to give the gift, not because I’m such a wonderful person!
Third: the gift is given so me not to horde for my own benefit, but rather to share with those around me. Art can be intensely personal, both in its conception and its expression, but I have been given not only the vision to see through Christ’s eyes, but a voice to express it for others. Some of my art is still a very personal expression of worship between me and my Savior but more and more, I am experiencing how it can be a way for Him to speak His Grace, Mercy and Peace — to build Faith, Hope and Love in the lives of others.
In this season of Christmas, we spend a lot of mental and emotional energy around gifts, both those which we give and receive on a human level but also about he ultimate Gift which God gave to us in the person of Emanuel. Let us be ready to receive that gift as artists, so that in turn, God may give His Gift to the world through us.