Merry Post Christmas.
I was puttering about in Photoshop, the program I use for most of my paintings, and such, and a thought came to me. Some time ago, back before the snow had flown, I had been wandering through the alleys in my neighbourhood looking for interesting things to photograph, and I came upon the springs of an abondoned mattress leaning up against a fence. What interested me most, however, was the fact that among the steel coils of the springs were the coils of some weed or other, wrapping itself about its ferrous cousin. The image below is my favourite of the series I took of this coily situation.
One of the reasons I like this image so much, is that it symbolizes for me the struggle of life. The green plant insisting on existing, despite its inhospitable, and unlikely environment. And this is no meek vegetable, but a plant of determination, wrapping its tendrils about the bars of its metalic prison as though to break them, or to use them as a launching point for its escape to happier climes.
This might not appear to be overly Christmas-y, as it is missing the requisite snow, star, wise person, shepherd or angel, but it does point is to the message of the season. When we light the Christ Candle on Christmas Eve, we read the Great Gospel, that epic introduction to John chapter one, in which we learn that the infant Jesus was, is, and ever shall be the maker of all things, the judge of all people, and the light which can never be overcome. And just as a candle flame in the centre of a darkened room can seem so tiny compared to the shadows which surround it, this plant seems dwarfed by its steel cage. However, the springs of this long decayed mattress can do nothing to stop the plant's inexorable growth, and its stubborn life. Darkness can not extinguish light, but is chased away by the smallest flame. A day will come when these bedsprings will be lost in the leaves and tendrils of the plants that grow within it.
Christmas teaches us that regardless of how dark it might be in this long night of the world, there will always be a flame burning. It is a flame which we can draw into ourselves, which we can own and share and give away to make new lights until finally the whole world is covered in tiny flames, and there are no shadows left.
"The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it." (John 1:5, NIV (the Greek for 'understood' can also be translated 'overcome'))