Verbal Pictures

Saturday, December 9, 2017
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Listen while you read: "The Birthday Of A King"1 (Lyrics)

Ever since I was a little boy, I liked to draw, colour, and paint. I was a sickly little fellow, and I remember the many days when I sat in front of the window, drawing and colouring, while other children were outside playing. In elementary school, Friday afternoon was my favourite time, when we had a drawing class under supervision of the teacher. Really good projects were put on the wall for all to see, and several of mine ended up there. When I left that school for further education, I was allowed to take them home, and I still have some of them. Over the years, especially when I was younger, I did many different kinds of drawings and added them to my collection. As I got older, I started to do some oil and acrylic paintings of landscapes in various places, and one of our daughters has some of them. My artistic talents did not improve much over the years, and I'm sure that none of my efforts will end up in a museum.

As I was studying for some Christmas-related activities, I thought about the fact that although there are paintings, mosaics, pottery, and coins from biblical times which were and are still being found by archeologists, we have no pictures of the Christmas story at all. So many words have been passed on to us through the centuries, but no pictures. Some experts say that Jesus was born in a stable, others say it was a cave, while others say that the animals were in the house. There are questions about how many wise men came to see Jesus, how old Mary was, and whether Joseph was much older. We have no pictures to verify any of the things that we wonder about, but the writers of the Bible drew us such wonderful verbal pictures of the events which took place. The words that Luke wrote give us a good way of visualizing the events surrounding the birth of Jesus.

"A decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria." And so Luke sets the scene (Luke 2:1b-2 NKJV). Joseph and Mary had to travel to Bethlehem for the very purpose of being registered.

Luke 2:6-7 – So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (NKJV)

Luke goes on to tell us about shepherds coming to the place where they were staying, on the instruction of angels. When we read these Spirit-inspired words, we don't need a drawing or a painting, for we can see it in our minds. Those words written so long ago speak to our hearts. Let us have a great appreciation for these writers' ability to draw us these great verbal pictures.

Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we thank You for the writers of the Bible, those people who wrote these wonderful words, which tell us what happened so long ago. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit, who explains to us how important these words are for us, right here, right now. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Joel Jongkind <>
Meaford, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Comforting words, Joel. Have a Merry Christmas.

    Thanks Joel for sharing this devotional with us. Blessings.

    Thank you for this reading. Something I hadn’t realized. Keep up your good work.

    You painted a good word here today Joel.
    Merry Christmas.

    Dear Joel:
    I learned something new about you today – didn’t realize that you were an “artist”.
    Wishing you and Greta all the blessings of the season.
    Blessings to all at Knox.

    Thank you, Joel,
    I too was into art as a child and painted as an adult in acrylic.
    I haven’t done so for a long time and your devotional brought back the joy I had in it.
    And you are right, beautiful verbal pictures help us see pictures in our minds.

    Thank you, Joel, for the very fine devotional.
    Especially for, “Let us have a great appreciation for these writers’ ability to draw us these great verbal pictures”.
    And thanks for the prayer.
    Keep writing.

    Good Morning Joel,
    Once again, a very inspirational prose. Yes, persons who could not make a single brush stroke, can read, hear, and imagine. We cannot see their images, but we can sense a feeling of deep appreciation on their part. Keep helping them to “see” the beauty of their minds.
    I want to “Thank You” for your dedication.

    Joel, I appreciate your prayer – a reminder that we need not embellish the biblical text with “ornamental” additions.

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