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About the Christmas Crown Card

Woven into Joy

Maybe the crown of thorns on a Christmas tree doesn’t look like the greatest gift you ever received. But it is.

Somehow, in a way that is beyond our understanding, God planned from all eternity to come and to save us from ourselves. He knew what would happen ahead of time. Christmas is not a sentimental holiday to God. Jesus came to die.

The symbolism here (for those who have eyes to see) is this:
• The green tree in winter is a symbol of eternal life.
• The thorns are a result of the curse.
• Jesus takes those very thorns, weaves them into a pattern and wears them. He suffers the consequences of the curse Himself.
So that is why the third verse of a hymn that most of us sing every December says:

No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make His blessings flow Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.*

He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found in your life and in mine. He comes to save us from all the tragic things we suffer. Things like grief and selfishness and poverty. Things like loneliness and sickness and fear.

May the wonder and the joy of His gift reverberate in your life and in mine, this Christmas season and always.

I GOT THE IDEA FOR THIS CARD AFTER MONTHS of playing around with thorns and the crown of thorns inmy sketchbook. All of a sudden I thought of combining the Christmas tree and the crown of thorns. I knew it would work! Sometimes I carry the joy of an idea around for months. It

is like a surprise gift that I can’t wait to give you. This idea is especially precious to me because of the deep theological significance behind it.

The actual working out of the composition was labor- intensive, as usual. I tried putting the crown at the base of the tree, but then it wasn’t big enough to see. So I moved it to the top of the tree and zoomed in. And then I had to figure out how to integrate the text.

Painting the crown of thorns in watercolor was easy. I loved that part because I’ve done thorns before. But the tree was much more difficult. It’s funny how you think you know what something looks like until you actually try to reproduce it. An evergreen is an extremely complicated thing to paint with all those little needles! Since I didn’t actually make a crown of thorns and put it on a tree as a model, I had to imagine for myself where the shadows would fall. In hindsight I should have made more of a contrast of values between the tree and the thorns. Live and learn. Now I understand why many artists paint the same image over and over. They are trying to solve a visual problem. I’ll probably try this one again.

* “Joy to the World” by Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

Buy the Christmas Crown card here .