Tis the Season: How the Light Gets In.

My inbox is probably a lot like yours. Sales. Last chances. Hurry. Limited time only. Last day to get it before Christmas. As someone who sells a physical product to real people, who ships, and markets, and undeniably hustles I have this to say: I absolutely get it. And for whatever reason, I just couldn’t do it. Not this time. 

I couldn’t bring myself to write the “ends soon” or “last chance” emails. I couldn’t quite figure out which pieces make the best gifts. I didn’t frame all the prints that I would have liked so that they could be ready to gift. I went silent for a while on social media during the time of year I am usually most active. Instead of paintings, I shared photos of my undeniably cute dogs and unflattering ones of my stepson and me in matching Santa jammies on instagram.

Tis the season for feeling like you aren’t quite doing enough. But maybe it’s also the season to remember that you are enough. That, God bless him, baby Jesus was not born in a instagram- worthy manger with his monogrammed onesie. Instead the divine always seems to get in through the cracks: The far from perfect. The mess and beauty of humanity where divinity finds a way even when there’s no room for it at all. It finds the cracks.  

So yes to the peppermint mochas, the gorgeous posed photography of Christmas cards. Yes to the lights and the stockings, my mother-in-law’s truly amazing once-a-year artichoke balls. Yes to the tree and the homemade ornaments, the wrapping paper, and the candles. 

But also yes to the Christmas cracks where the light gets in (thank you, Leonard Cohen). The longing for family that is gone. The longing for family to be something it isn’t quite. The loss. The fear. The aching sadness. The blessed, gorgeous hope, that thing with feathers that perches in the soul which I am always pursuing and never quite catching in my work. 

I’m still making art, and probably will be till the day I die. There actually is no urgency. No last chance. I’ll see ya when I see you, and until then: blessings, my friends.


Picture of Denise Hopkins

Denise Hopkins

December 22, 2022

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