Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings have often struck me as disturbing. Even without knowing his tormented life, one can recognize in some of Van Gogh’s works a heaviness of composition and almost a frustration in the strokes of his brush. Despite these impressions of mine, I still find glimmers of optimism. “Starry Night Over the Rhone” (1888) certainly offers this. The French city of Arles below fights the evening darkness with their new and man-made devices, gas street lights, while above God’s heavenly points of reflected glory, the stars, shine down. Together the two entities combat the obscurity of their environment. Both make their effort to lift the spirits of their citizens in their own way.
It seems to be much the same for me in this Advent 2012. The secular and commercial world has a need to do what it can to fend off the gloom of its existence. And so we get the glitz and sparkle that sometimes is artificial. Then there is the eternal yearning of the spirit: the soul which looks to find that more transcendent light which comes from beyond – way above our imagining.
No wonder God chose a star as an instrument to guide seekers to His Son. In these Advent days, enjoy the lights but notice also the stars.