What's in Your Hand?; Save the Dates; The 2022 Advent Project
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The Newsletter of Artist, Composer, Thinker Steven Homestead  |  November 25, 2022
What's in Your Hand?
Welcome to the holiday season! As we celebrate, we gather with friends and family for special meals, we watch football games, and maybe this year even watch fútbol! As we go shopping, either amid the hustle and bustle or from our digital shopping carts, we might encounter a line used by Capital One that asks, “What's in your wallet?” This question can challenge us. And we might think, “Do I have enough?”
As I think about this question, I'm reminded of Moses' encounter with God in the burning bush. God met Moses, asking him to speak out and lead his people to freedom. But Moses objected...

     “They won’t trust me. They won’t listen to a word I say.
     They’re going to say, ‘God? Appear to him? Hardly!’”
     So God said, “What’s that in your hand?”
     “A staff.”
     “Throw it on the ground.”
     He threw it. It became a snake; Moses jumped back—fast!
     God said to Moses, “Reach out and grab it by the tail.”
     He reached out and grabbed it—and he was holding his staff again.
     “That’s so they will trust that God appeared to you, the God of their fathers,
     the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”
—Exodus 4:1-5 (MSG)
Moses saw God in the burning bush yet struggled to see God choosing to work in his own life. He had difficulty trusting God. He needed to be open to the creativity of trust, to imagine more clearly what God could do, to see with eyes of faith. God, on the other hand, always sees the potential and possibility in things.
He sees hope in the hopeless, light in the darkness, beauty in the ashes.
There’s something powerful about reflecting God when we’re active in our creativity regardless of resources, when we look at what God can do with what we already have in our hands. I often say that “Artists live with generative potential,” because we can see things with possibility, and we can work toward that. Then, instead of feeling ungrateful for what we don’t have, we can create from what we do.
We find that an empty stage can become an immersive world, a pile of mud can be a beautiful ceramic sculpture, or broken sticks from a wind-ravaged tree can be gathered together into a holiday wreath. When we create, even from the little, we live in gratitude.
So, as we think about what's in our wallets, we can instead ask, “What’s in my hand?"

Is it a DSLR camera, a smartphone, a mouse, or a trackpad? Do I hold a paint brush, pen, pencil, or some crayons? Am I working with clay, a sewing needle, a culinary knife, sand, or bread dough? Or even—am I holding hope, praise, or healing?
Perhaps in your hand is nothing but the bones and blood that God gave you and what you hold is the empty space of creativity itself.

Let us thank God. And let us hold out our hands.
Above: first and third image/art by Steven Homestead, second by Jason Leith.
Save the Dates: December Events!
I'll share more details as these get closer, but between Saddleback Visual Arts (SVA), the CoCreate Initiative, and Mariners Arts, there are some special and meaningful events coming in December. All are welcome.

Monday, Dec. 5, 7:00pm
First Fruits: Creatively Responding to Scripture || CoCreate Arts Center

As First Fruits has continued to grow, it's been inspiring to see the many expressions of creativity that people have brought to this gathering. Last month, our group collectively responded with art, poetry, dance, and song. Come experience this for yourself and receive rest and inspiration.

Monday, Dec. 12, 6:30pm
Mariners Arts Gathering: "The Gift" || Mariners Chapel

Inspired by the gift of the Little Drummer Boy, we're inviting all creatives to bring their work for a special pop-up show. Come share or experience multiple expressions of creativity.

Thursday, Dec. 15, 7:00pm
Poetry in the Manger || CoCreate Arts Center

Come to SVA's annual Poetry in the Manger, where we gather around a hay-filled manger, read poetry, and join in holiday songs. This year, I'm planning a special atmosphere for the Christmas gathering, helping to make it seem like we're shepherds under the night sky.
Starting Sunday: The 2022 Advent Project
As "20 Days of Gratitude" comes to a close today, I want to invite you to take part in the Advent Project, an amazing offering from Biola University's Center for Christianity, Culture, and the Arts. This multifaceted online Advent calendar starts this Sunday, November 26, 2022, and runs through January 7, 2023.

Each day of the Advent Project, you can engage with a work of visual art, a piece of music, a poem, a scripture passage, and a devotion, each centering around a common theme that deepens and enriches our Advent and Christmas seasons. I had the honor of writing a devotional response that connects with the work of one of my friends, David Wallace Haskins. Stay tuned for that in the weeks to come.
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Copyright © 2022 Steven Homestead-Artist, Composer, Thinker, All rights reserved.

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