Chi-Rho December Newsletter – Thy Word is a Lamp Unto My Feet

“Thy Word is a Lamp Unto My Feet Mosaic” acrylic painting, © 2016 by Donna Gonzalez

I hope all of you had a wonderful time with family and friends this Christmas!  Though Christmas Day was yesterday, the reason for this season is life changing for the individual as well as in the course of history.  It is also a way of life. And I hope this painting can help show that as it pertains to the significance of this Christmas season. 

The original mosaic for this painting was done in acrylic on an 8″x10″ canvas and has an effect added to it which makes each brushstroke and line of paint appear to glow.  The finished composition that you see above, however; is made up of 48 identical mosaics which when placed together creates this unique pattern. What is really cool is due to this intricate pattern it creates an optical illusion!  I love how this piece came out! The scripture verse is taken from Psalms 119:105 which holds a special meaning this Christmas season. 

Iconography: I’ve only highlighted a few here in pink, but throughout the entirety of this artwork are a series of yellow rectangles which depict tempo or movement. Not unlike a series of footsteps walking across a tiled floor. 

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Between the yellow squares are darker tiles that symbolize horizontal and vertical pathways. I’ve highlighted a couple of them here, and reduced the opacity so they are easier to see. Again these also run the entire length and width of the artwork. 

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In between each set of four footsteps are implied lines that form an elliptical shape which appears as an optical illusion, three are highlighted in red below. As you eyes scan the artwork they appear and disappear quickly. 

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So how does all of this fit in neatly with Psalm 119:105 and Christmas? Christmas is the season of joy, hope and gift giving that has it’s origins back to God Himself Who would give the greatest gift of all, His Son, the promise to not only the nation of Israel but to all of mankind. Isaiah 9:6 says:

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

This promised Savior would be fulfilled hundreds of years later as transcribed by the Gospel writer Luke. The following is just part of what is often read during Christmas describing the account of Jesus’ birth:

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:8-12

The Gospel writer John writes of Jesus entering the world:

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

Later Jesus would described Himself as our light:

12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

We look to Jesus the Word incarnate who’s very words are life, as He leads we follow in step with Him.

“105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105

This is symbolized by the yellow footsteps in the painting. Just as a lamp brings light to a path for those in darkness, Jesus is our light. The darker tiles represent just how narrow that path is, so narrow it seems only two footsteps wide. We are called to walk in His footsteps.  Meaning we abide close to Him and do not wander away from the truth of God’s Word.  Jesus said:

 13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.Matthew 7:13-14

The great glorious King Jesus left the splendors of Heaven, to be born in the most humble of means in a lost and dying world, lived a sinless life, healed the sick, raised the dead doing many good works to show the Father’s heart. He taught us how to love God and to love one another. He willingly took the punishment that was ours dying on a cross, rose to life triumphantly three days later having conquered sin, death and the grave, that we may know the forgiveness of sins, and walk in newness of life. Jesus, the greatest gift for all times, for all people, for all seasons. 

Oh…and that optical illusion…have you noticed in your Christian walk, sometimes in life there are many things that will vie for our attention, to get our eyes off of Jesus? To redirect our gaze onto seemingly more important things, or on petty things?

Just as that elliptical optical illusion shape is visible in your peripheral vision trying to distract your eyes off what is really important – the narrow path and the footsteps of our Lord; notice it appears at first as something worthwhile to look at, upon finally gazing on it one realizes it has disappeared – it’s nothing. Likewise those things that distract us off our narrow path are just an illusion, they cannot satisfy, nor offer true peace, nor last for eternity. 

May this post encourage and bless you!

-Donna

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