Inspired by Jane Austen, LifeGroup paints Christmas



TALLAHASSEE—In between shopping for Christmas gifts, baking holiday cookies and decorating the Christmas tree, a group of men and women at Killearn United Methodist Church in Tallahassee took time out to explore the true meaning of the Christmas season through creative expression.

Over the past five weeks, the 13 members of the Advent LifeGroup at the church have been reflecting on the events leading to the birth of Jesus by putting brush to canvas and creating Advent paintings.

The first-time class was led by Brittany Bianco, who joined the church in October after moving to Florida from Ohio.

“I was inspired by what our pastor said about taking the time to reflect on what this Advent season really means,” Bianco said. “With everything going on during this busy time, it’s easy to lose sight of why we celebrate Christmas. I thought it would be nice to set aside an hour once a week to explore our thoughts through art.”

Bianco said art has long been a vehicle for expression in her own life, and she wanted to share the joy of God-given creativity with fellow members of the church.

After jointly working on a background scene for the artwork, each class member recreated a moment leading to Christ’s birth in a Bethlehem stable using acrylic paints.

“We created a starry night sky as a background, and then each LifeGroup member chose a scene to recreate on a 16 by 20-inch canvas,” Bianco said. “One person did the three wise men. Another painted the shepherds who received the news of Christ’s birth. And some chose to paint the nativity. It was fun to see how each person was inspired in a different way.”

As added inspiration for their artwork, the LifeGroup used “A Jane Austen Devotional,” by Thomas Nelson, to reflect on the significance of the season. The devotional pairs more than 100 Scriptures with excerpts from Jane Austen’s best-known novels to explore themes such as God’s unconditional love, generosity and hope in the face of adversity.

“I got a lot of great feedback from the members of the class,” Bianco said. “I hope to offer another class this spring during Lent.”

--D’Ann Lawrence White is a freelance writer based in Valrico.
 

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