There is something about entering Advent that always makes me a little giddy in a way that New Year’s Day doesn’t. During Advent, we are supposed to be in anticipation for the birth of Jesus. Sure, the birth occurred more than 2,000 years ago but each year we participate in remembering the life of Jesus by first anticipating it.
This year I’m going to be sharing a bit of how I work and include samples from the week. But the first thing I should share is my basic process for discovering images.
A few years ago I found notebooks that had blank pages and lined pages opposite of each other. I bought three years worth because they tend to be hard to find. However, this year I noticed Moleskine is producing them. I find the layout helpful because I can write my notes on the lined page but sketch something if I have an image in mind.
Then I do a modified lectio divina reading, which I’ll explain below.
At the top of the page I write “Images:” and read the passage looking for images. I find this first reading allows me to focus on the phrases better in the second reading. I recorded “mountains, temple/house, people, swords, plowshares, spears, pruning hooks.”
Then I write “phrases” and do a traditional lectio divina reading where I pay attention to any phrases that stick out to me. I read silently, occasionally I’ll read aloud. Then write the phrase down. This time “all the nations shall stream to it” stuck out.
Then I read a third time to get a “centering word.” I’ll get to how I use that in a later post, but I wrote down “judge.”
At this point, I can do a quick sketch of an image and decide what medium I’m going to use. For this passage, I chose to do paper. So, I write down what I’m thinking about doing. My plan was a background of mountains with one higher peak with a path on it. And printing and pasting swords and guns in the bottom foreground.
Notice how I’m only planning on using the mountains and swords from the image reading, but I’m planning on adding the path because it goes with the phrase? But once I did the artwork, I decided not to add the path. Part of this is because my paper images are put into a contemplative card design so the phrase will be included below the image.
Prompts from the Past
Play with Paul’s understanding of darkness and light by dividing a sheet of paper diagonally and making one side black with the other side white. Take out a white pen or pencil and write your habits of darkness on the black side. Then take out a black pen and write your habits of the light on the white side. You should wind up with more of a gray image than Paul’s text suggests. Add a color picture or representation of yourself to the background and add phrases from the passage that stuck out to you in color.
Take out a sheet of paper and write “I make myself ready for the Son of Man by” in large letters but enough room to write in your responses. Keep changing pen or pencil colors as you respond to the prompt and fill up the page.