I chose the story of the shepherds receiving the news about the birth of Jesus as it brought hope not only to them but also to all of creation. The angel’s announcement certainly got the attention of the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night. But it was something else that sent them hurrying toward a manger in Bethlehem. It was HOPE. After hearing the good news, they spread the word concerning what had been told to them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed. After the shepherds witnessed the birth of Jesus, they returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. Their lives were changed. Similarly, we have hope of a renewed relationship with God and a hope of eternal life through Jesus’ birth.
A promise is always most treasured when you are down and out. When you are at your lowest, you cannot imagine happiness. That is why we need to have a mental image that gives us hope. Israel had been in exile when Jeremiah gave this promise from God. So I imagine that their mental image is the land which was promised to them in Joshua 1 – where God promises to bring them back to their homeland.
This artwork shows Noah’s Ark carrying the artist, Yik Han, with his father, mother, and sister, who are all hidden inside the structure. Animals are also depicted inside the picture, hiding within the Ark. Even though the young artist himself is not clear about the true meaning of Noah’s Ark, his artwork carries the great love of God that lies beyond his imagination. The artist’s optimism and happiness are illustrated through the smile that persists even in the midst of the heavy rain and storm – as he always believes that the sun will come after the rain. His artwork aims to deliver love and hope to all the people who need it, and also to encourage those who has lost hope to continue in hope with strong hearts and minds – to “smile through the stormy day”.
God gave Abraham and Sarah their promised child in their old age. This reminds me of my own story, where my father (whose Christian name is Abraham too) and mother waited almost ten years to receive God’s gift of a child (me!) to them. We are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to God’s promise in the Bible.