Stories and devotions to celebrate Christmas.
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Cup of Comfort
Richelle's story, "John's Gift," reveals her soldier son's journey and her new understanding of God's "bigger" plan for us.
The first time my son, John, held a crayon, it was to create; a cat, a dog, a tree, or a creature or place no one had ever seen. He drew while watching TV, eating at the table, and riding in the car. He drew on homework, in school and in church, as if an unseen force drove his fingers and he couldn’t stop.
At age five, he began art lessons and his art teacher told me on more than one occasion, “He has the gift.” She explained how she could teach the basics of drawing, the different techniques of painting water color, pastels, charcoal, acrylic, and oils, how to study objects and draw their form. But the gift is God-given.
In her studio, she said, “I set different models on that table and have students draw what they see.”
She showed me some art her students had done, vases, bowls of fruit, a piece of driftwood, each a masterpiece by a child’s hands.
I said, “You have some talented students.”
She smiled. “Now, let me show you some of John’s work.”
I followed her to another stack where she picked up the top picture.
“This is John’s painting of the fruit.”
I took the artwork and followed her as she guided me through his painting.
“Notice the detail, how he shaded the shadow of bowl underneath and highlighted the light reflecting off the orange?” I nodded. “But look beyond the bowl.”
I scanned the page, holding the curling edges taut. Above the painted bowl of fruit was a light. I glanced over at the light above the table. It was identical to the painted version, down to each tiny link in the chain holding the fixture.
“Look at this,” his instructor said pointing to his painting. “My art books on the table, my paint jar, and the shelf beside the table with each item.”
I looked at each, compared them to the real items. Chills ran with amazement through me.
“That’s not all,” she said. He includes the window behind the table? And this.”
She pointed to the black dog outside the window sitting beside a tree in the painting.
“He sees beyond the obvious, sees the bigger picture.”
She chose another of John’s drawings, a fire-breathing dragon with enormous wings and a tiny figure of a man fighting the creature with his sword. Each individual scale had been drawn on the dragon and the fire exploding from its mouth and nostrils was so real, you would hesitate touching it for fear of being burned. The ground was just as complex, with different sized stones, tiny cracks, wide crevices, and dust rising beneath the valiant man’s feet. The sky revealed a bright orange sun setting behind a rocky mountain range.
“Most artists draw from models or landscapes they see. But John can draw this kind of detail in things he doesn’t see or may have never seen. Only a select few have this gift.”
There was that word again.