My three favorite American artists are Thomas Kinkade, Terry Redlin and Gerald Harvey Jones (G. Harvey). Why are they favorites? The era they capture and use of light both resonate with me. In their unique way, each takes the viewer back decades to what Kinkade reflects on as “A simpler time.” I like that. Call me an ‘idealist’ or ‘romantic’ if you wish, but I like that era. One key to great art is the use of light and dark to create mood, depth and emotion. To me, all three men were masters.

The art piece I feature in this Christmas blog is based on a favorite G. Harvey painting. I painted it about three years ago in oil on a 11 x 14 inch canvas. For me it captures an era when simple love, faith, family and civility seemed more alive in daily culture.


If you ask me, “What is your favorite holiday?,” can you guess my answer? If you know me at all, without hesitation, it would be ‘Christmas’! You would be correct. A simple follow-up question might be, “Why?” Good question.

My answer is reflective of the comments about Art for this week.   My thoughts about Christmas are in three tenses: Past, Present and Future:

  • Past Christmases, with memories that flood my heart with Thanks
  • Present Christmas brings Joy to my heart when I see my wonderful wife and others in my life whom I love.
  • Future Christmases and Hope for anticipated blessings yet to be experienced.

Now, as a great-grandfather, there are lots of ‘Past Christmases’ to be thankful for! I’ll recall one in particular. Our three sons, Jim, Dan and Steve ranged from preschool to elementary. Marj injured her back just before Christmas shopping began. She simply was not able to ‘go Christmas shopping’ for the boys. Remember, this is before ‘smart phones’ and ‘online shopping’. You either went to the store in person; ordered from a five-pound catalogue and waited, who knows how long, or you did without.

In our case, there was yet another option—daddy, Jim, would do the shopping! O.K.! Off I went into this wonderful sea of aggressive moms searching for that hard-to-find, most popular—every child must have this season!—gift. I gained a whole new perspective on the serenity of motherhood?

I survived! In fact I enjoyed it and gained a new indebtedness to the mother of ‘My Three Sons’. (That TV show may predate your memory!) I shopped and wrapped all the gifts. On purpose, I wrapped the boy’s gifts in paper from the same large roll of Christmas wrapping and did not put names on them. So, under the tree is this stack of randomly shaped gift wrapped boxes…with no names. I was having fun! Even Marj didn’t know which gift was for which son. Unbeknown to them, I had put a small code on each package to remind what went to which son. Christmas Morning was awesome fun, not only for the kids, but for dad too. Marj recovered, but was especially careful to remain injury free in future Decembers, or dad might do the shopping again!

That’s possibly more than you wanted to know about my Thanks for a fun Christmas Past. And it was not focused on the true spiritual meaning of Christmas, when God came into His creation in the person of Jesus to demonstrate His love for us! Nor did I focus on my Hope for future Christmases. That might come at another time.

This is Blog #54!

This is my 54th weekly blog accompanied by a piece of my original art. If you’ve been along for the ride in 2019, my hope and prayer is that something you may have seen or read was used by the Holy Spirit to aid in your spiritual journey for His glory.

If you have a friend, you think might also enjoy this weekly blog, I encourage you to show them how to become a follower. If you missed some of the last 53 issues they are all on line and you may scroll back and see the Art as well as all the Thoughts.

Have a Merry Christmas, with Love!

“Love seeks one thing only, the good of the one loved.”     Thomas Merton

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16











4 thoughts on “Christmas

  1. Beautiful work Pastor. What a fun story. I remember one year my parents systematically changed all the names on the packages. As a result, on Christmas morning, the presents I had meticulously weighed, measured and shaken to determine the prize within, turned out to be all my oldest sisters gifts! And hers were mine. It was a hoot. I think I was 7 years old. Merry Christmas and a very blessed New Year to you and Marj.


  2. Hello Pastor Jim,
    What a beautiful painting! I wish I could do that. Quite the talent you have, and as you told us before, it is great to create. Well, you created a beauty!
    This past couple of days were really fun, with Christmas at our house with 34 people there. What a blessing to see everyone, and get caught up on their lives. This past week, I heard a saying on KTIS, which I shared with everyone at Christmas Eve.

    “It’s not the presents we receive that makes a difference, but rather, HIS presence”

    God Bless You and Your Family,


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