This afternoon I made a collage from some Christmas cards I found while looking through receipts yesterday. It sounded like fun, and a way to keep the cards without just being a pack rat by putting them in a shoebox that will never be looked through. Plus, the nativity and incarnation have always been powerful symbols that have helped me enter the mystery of faith. So, I hoped doing the collage would be an act of prayer help me pray, help me discover some faith like I used to have so easily. I also hoped I’d be able to do the activity at all since remaining focused on tasks has been difficult and now the new shakiness that robs me of my dexterity.
But you can see below that I was able to do it. And, while I didn’t have the kind of experience of the presence of God I was used to before in prayer, I did find that the collage, too, was an act of prayer. A friend who heard I was going to try the collage said, “Crafting is yet another way to express ‘the creator’ side of our deepest selves being made in the image of The Creator. Enjoy the process!” I very much enjoyed the process of being artistic with color and shape and of putting a puzzle together. I tried to be non-judgmental with myself about all the trouble I had with focus and dexterity and getting the glue to work. This act of prayer was light-hearted and open (whatever came out of it would be just what it was supposed to be), it was an act of play, and it had the undercurrent that the finished project would make a theological statement.
What do I make of it?
I’m struck with the juxtaposition of contemporary images to flesh out ancient concepts. For example, the boys whose town recently received water from Church World Service playing with water as a symbol of Joy and a symbol of the prayer that Bethlehem would have peace. Or, the picture of a babe with a mother’s hand on her as a symbol of love, like the love of the holy family, or the act of love of the three wise men. And dominant throughout this prayer is an urgent plea for peace.
What do you make of this collage – or the collage of Christmas cards you received last year?