A Word from the Artist

I, too, always have loved Christmas. It was my mother’s favorite time of the year. She would decorate the house with lots of lights and a huge tree, with lots of surprises under the tree. The preparation for Christmas that comes through Advent was always a part of my church life. So were walking the streets of our small town singing Christmas carols, going to church on Christmas Eve, enjoying the privilege of it being your turn to set up the nativity scene on the dining room table, and of course, the anticipation of Christmas morning!

When I had children of my own, I wanted Christmas to be the most wondrous time of the year for them. We also sang Christmas carols, had a huge Christmas tree for which each child had certain ornaments that were specifically theirs to put on the tree, we celebrated Advent, and enthusiastically anticipated Christmas morning.

My dream for this book began several years ago when I wanted to share with my children and grandchildren something of how the Christmas season has deepened my faith and to leave a part of myself to them through my art. I prayed that God would be present during this process, guiding me in my art and imparting something of the wonder of the birth of Jesus to each of them.

How did this book come to be? First, I was inspired to write stories for children surrounding the first Christmas, where they could walk in the footsteps of the Biblical characters. Afterwards, it dawned on me that I could do a series of oil paintings to depict the characters in these stories surrounding the birth of Jesus. When my good friend Terry Ellis and I were talking one day, I casually suggested that it would be fun to collaborate on this project together. I was thrilled when he wanted to join me. Terry has presented Biblical truths that are illustrated in each of my paintings. During this process of putting together a book for adults to delve deeper into the first Advent, I also wrote an accompanying book for families with children to read together.

Our hope is that as you read the stories and reflect on the paintings, the events leading up to Christmas will become alive for you. Follow the characters’ footsteps. Use your imagination as you read these stories to feel God’s power, know His love for you, and open yourself to the possibilities God has for you in your own life!

So, let’s get started. Happy First Christmas everybody!