Sehnsucht – The Art of Christmas

The inner turmoil of Joseph.

What comes to your mind when you think about Christmas art? Santa checking his list? A cozy cottage in the snow? Or maybe you are quick to give the right answer – baby Jesus lying in a manger of course!

I asked myself this question and did a little research. I found art regarding the birth of Jesus is all very similar in style. It’s just a variation of a nativity scene. There are the standard pieces: a baby in a manger, Joseph and Mary, some farm animals, and sometimes shepherds or even wise men.

Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I wondered why we don’t have more unique expressions about this event. So I decided to create some art pieces about Christmas without recreating something that has already been done.

Mary pondering her newborn son.

When I imagine the birth of Jesus, it gives me the sense of what C.S. Lewis called “sehnsucht.” He calls it “the inconsolable longing in the heart for we know not what.” I get that longing and aching feeling when I hear the line from the song Mary Did You Know: “Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?” I envision Mary looking up at the moon and stars in the darkness of Bethlehem and taking this all in, awestruck her little baby somehow made all this.

Simeon meets the Messiah.

When I think about Christmas it gives me that same feeling of wonder and awe. Then I start to connect all the dots of God’s great plan through the ages and how he came to earth in the form of a man. It creates in me that longing or aching for the completion of God’s story.

So in this Christmas series of artwork, my goal is to capture that feeling of awe and wonder at the improbable story of the creator being born in an animal shelter in the middle of nowhere. My hope is that it joins in with this story that God has been telling.

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Brandon Atwood

Hey there, my name is Brandon Atwood. You'll see contributions from me that are primarily visual. I love to draw and paint, so when I get inspired I will share it with you. My hope is that my art will help you experience the power of the resurrection in new and fresh ways in this fallen world.

3 thoughts on “Sehnsucht – The Art of Christmas

  • December 18, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    Every word and every brushstroke on this page is beautiful.

    • December 18, 2015 at 2:19 pm

      I agree. I love Joseph. He seems to get overlooked in the whole thing, yet he played such a vital part in all of it. The painting really does capture the emotions he must have been dealing with.

  • December 19, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    Good job on the art of Christmas. A key element to our understanding – and experiencing the Nativity.


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