“Join me and Santa Claus for church this Sunday at Newcastle Town Hall.” I shared that audacious announcement with friends and family because this year, my Christmas included collaborative creating with Santa at a one of a kind Christmas art and craft sale.
I think of church as a dine-in or a take-out experience. I often live the “take-out” model — using my art as a way to connect with people. I attempt to deliver “take-out” portions of love and kindness, with a side of art.
As I go, I search for the beauty of God and affirm the image of God in each person I meet. Often these encounters happen on a Sunday. I enter into the world of folks I meet during art events, and together we create. We talk about their family, their goals, their work and how life is working for them.
That is how I met [this] Santa Claus. We had hung out before, when I led carols in public schools. In fact, we’ve been meeting up during this festive season for over six years. Santa, who had never touched a canvas before, received his first art lesson with me at an event we both attended.
He had the same angst about making creative marks that we all have. He was tentative and he did not think he could do it. But he did.
A couple weeks ago, we met up again, and without coaxing, he jumped right in and received his second art lesson. He worked alongside a young woman from a local high school the next town over, who was quietly trying her hand on a large panel called “Freedom.”
I can barely describe the happiness that fills my heart, to share time and art and God’s love with people who might not be encountering it other places. It is the Gospel done, dine in and take out; and it is good. Merry Christmas.
Patty Kingsley is an artist who lives and paints in Ontario. Faith Today features the work of Canadian artists in our Canadian Creatives section in each issue.