Beauty, Creativity and Mary’s Song of Joy
If we are to understand beauty and creativity, we can find great inspiration in Mary’s song of joy.
The opportunities to create today are endless. We can create messages, and images, quickly and with ease, every day. The access we have to tools for creative expression is limitless. And yet, we live in a creative age that has lost sight of the most profoundly creative and precious act in all of history.
The incarnation is the greatest inspiration artists can find. For in the life of Mary, we find the greatest source of inspiration(God Himself), and the most life-giving, earth-shaking, and history-transforming creation (Christ). As artists, we often use the word, “creativity,” while losing sight of the origin of that word in human history: Pro-creation. It is returning to this truth, in light of immaculate conception, that we discover once again that God is the source of our creativity. He is the one we stand in awe before, and the one who can inspire us day after day to create everything He has called us to create.
1) God’s Inspiration Dwarfs that of Muses, Superstitions, and Techniques.
Artists throughout history have spoken of muses and various forms of inspiration. They trust habits, traditions, and techniques to give birth to creative breakthroughs. Some have great stories and great success in creating works of art for a season, or two. And for every story of a “wonderful muse”, there are countless stories of artists struggling to overcome the blank page and the blank canvas, no matter how long they wait for their beloved muse. These notions of muses are not completely without purpose. They expose our longing for inspiration from outside ourselves. They expose our natural longing to be inspired by a divine, holy, pure, and true God. These muses, in truth, are vague shadows compared to the bright light of the inspiration of God himself in the incarnation of Jesus Christ.
In the incarnation, God imparts something pure and holy, into Mary’s womb. More than inspiration. More than exhortation or encouragement. God gives something of ultimate preciousness to Mary. God gives her the seed, and as that seed fertilizes her egg, for more than an idea, or a new work of art that is created. In Mary’s womb, a new life is created. This is the greatest aspiration of any artist. To create something that goes on to be a gift and a blessing for eternity. It dwarfs any idea an artist may hope for from a muse. This gift to Mary is the very source of life from the one, true, God himself.
2) The Greatest Creative Act of Humanity: Procreation
Though creatives typically think of art when discussing creativity, the very origins of creativity are found in God’s divine act of Creation in the book of Genesis. He created everything, including life itself. We may be inspired by the handiwork of God. We may imitate the handiwork of God. But the closest we will ever get to being like God in our creativity is when we procreate.
No other act results in a new life. No other act increases our fellowship by increasing the number. No other creative act comes close to the influence and impact we can have in this world. Consider the impact of Abraham’s children, and their children’s children, and their children, for countless generations. And to think, God commanded we take this creativity seriously. It was not a suggestion. It was spoken in the imperative: “Be fruitful and multiply!” To obey God is to be fruitful, and creative, and generative, and life-giving.
3) Creativity: A Natural Response to the Goodness of God
God created us to respond to Him, to celebrate Him, and to be filled with joy. Just as a child erupts with joy when their mom or dad blesses them or gives them wonderful gifts, so we respond to God’s goodness with shouts of joy. Procreation is the truest form of this. When we are blessed to have a child born into our family, we are overjoyed and humbled by the beautiful gift of life. How many times are parents simply speechless and in awe of this new life in their presence. Creativity in other fields is designed to echo this same dynamic. Our artistic creativity should always be a response to the goodness and love of God experienced in our lives.
4) Joy: The Purest Response to God’s Blessings
If we understand the overwhelming love and grace of God, there should be resounding joy found in our lives and our art. This is why the redeemed are always to be known by their joy, their singing psalms, hymns and other songs. It is why they are to be known for their love. True Christians are the ones who recognize the deep love with which God has loved them, and that love, in turn, inspires them to write new songs, create new plays, design new video games, and to engage their neighbors all over the world with their creativity.
This doesn’t mean we ignore the pain and hardship. There is a time to grieve and to mourn as Ecclesiastes tells us. Yet, death does not have the final word. In the end, we will find peace and joy in the New Jerusalem with our savior. We know that even death will be swallowed up in victory. Therefore, we can hold onto hope, and know that joy will come in the morning, just like the dawn.
Meditating upon these ideas and taking time to pray:
Take some time to read this passage from the Gospel of Luke, and ask the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of your heart so that you might rejoice over the goodness of God as Mary did. Then ask God to help you see how your creativity and your art are meant to be a response to His Beauty, His Goodness, and the Truth of the Gospel.
And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
56 And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.
– Luke 1:46–56 (ESV)
I would love to hear from you if this was encouraging, challenging, or inspiring.
If you take time to comment, I will take time also to read it and respond.
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Copyright © 2023 Joel & Michelle Pelsue. All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission.