Everyone needs a little help from time to time…a little personalized attention from someone who cares. It seems we never get to old to stop our hunger for intimacy. We easily love those who give of themselves in this way. And so we carry an idea or mental picture of having a special someone in our corner who is watching over us…protecting us.
Someone who knows how to give us the space to try new things but never lets us out of their sight…building our confidence while still testing our resolve; always pushing, never giving up with their ever-present care.
Henry Ossawa Tanner, masterfully captures on canvas the kind of intimacy we all crave as he paints a single magically moment between a Father and a son.
He does this by using two sources of light to illuminate the scene with a warm glow and as he does this, Tanner draws us in and touches our heart with an experience that is universally appealing.
From the left, you can imagine the twilight falling and shining through a partially covered window. It fills the room and spotlights the milk pitcher and bread on the table. It is as if Tanner is symbolically saying, these sacred moments are the true bread of life…these moments are filled with the divine.
From the right, we can imagine a firelight that is casting light on their faces as they are intent on their mutual occupation. Tanner’s brush strokes are loose, drawing us into the feeling of the scene and directing our eyes to the more clearly defined eye of the Father. He is relaxed, patient, totally attentive as he watches over the child’s progress.
At first, I began to imagine how scenes such as this might have played out daily between Jesus, as a boy, and his parents, Mary and Joseph. They too, must have gathered him into their arms and carefully nurtured him. Thinking about this….knowing this kind of scene in your heart, creates an intimacy with Mary and Joseph that you may not have thought of before…Thinking of them in this way brings new meaning to:
And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.” Luke 2: 40
But if I draw very deeply on the above scene.
If I close my eyes, I can almost imagine myself there sitting on the Father’s lap as he is holding me safely in his warm embrace. I am not hiding in him, even though there have been those times…no this time I am focused on the task at hand and confidently exploring…going fearlessly forward knowing that God is near. I feel His presence and I sense that he is nodding and saying “yes, thats right…good…keep going…..just keep going”
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your constant presence in my life.
As I take a moment to fully realize your loving care…I stop to rest in it.
There will be no litany of thankfulness today; no list of requests…not today.
Only resting as you hold me near. And that is all I bring… it is enough.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows…and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23: 5b, 6b
I pray that God will keep you safely in his care this week.