Thursday, December 1, 2022

Low-Key Advent

"Shine On Us" Song lyrics by Phillips, Craig and Dean

Advent--the season leading up to Christmas--is the darkest time of the year. Low key photography is a technique that emphasizes shadow, so that only a small portion of the image is illuminated. The two make an interesting pair.  This year, I decided to do something about it.

I've always loved the practice of honoring the season of waiting before the celebration of Jesus's coming on Christmas.  It's a season of hope.  The Bible is filled from beginning to end with references to light and darkness, in a way that points forward to Jesus in the Old Testament, and affirms him as the Light of the World in the New Testament. From the perspective of my faith in Jesus, I always want to come to him by setting down my agenda, and looking for him to show me his.  My guiding photography question has always been, "What does the light want to show me?" If you've known me for long, you know there's a parallel to a spiritual question that I'm always asking, "What does the Light--Jesus--want to show me?"

I took the risk of inviting people to join a photography project with me for Advent--to look for light in the darkness.  It's a step of faith, because I have to trust that there's going to be some light.  I have to believe that those who open themselves to looking will find it.  And as I look around my home (where I spend the most time in the winter), I have to admit that I'm prone to thinking the lights are pretty predictable, that I'm not likely to discover anything new.  I'll have to let it come to me.  But I've been doing this long enough that I've found it will.

Faith is like that.  Jesus taught us to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread."  Hope isn't bringing our agenda to him and asking him to give us what we want (and believing he will/should if we say it right, do it right, get it right).  Hope is believing that somehow, today, he will show up and be with us, and that it will make a difference.

A couple of comments I've gotten from participants in the first two days:

"This was not the picture I intended.  I turned off the lights and planned to take one of my tree, but this is the pattern my tree makes on my ceiling and I was just mesmerized by it."

(In response to my comment about his very cool abstract photo) "I'm just looking for the light. It's been hard to find lately, metaphorically."

Amen.  Come Lord Jesus.  Show us what you're up to in the world.

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