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The Incarnation : illustration from 1997
“There it was - the true Light coming into the world, the genuine, perfect, steadfast Light that illumines every person...” The Gospel of St. John 1:9 (from the Amplified Bible)
I can’t remember now if it was a poem or an article I was asked by America Magazine to illustrate in November 1997. But I do remember that my Father, Stephen McNichols (7 March 1914 - 25 November 1997) was slowly fading into the Light, inside a hospital in Denver at that time. I had flown in from NYC the 24th and was sitting by his bedside, talking with him about everything, while doing this illustration because I had a deadline. He was very peaceful and it did not seem to me at all, that he would die in the early hours of the 25th. So Dad will always be connected to this illustration of The Incarnation. In it I imagined the hand of God the Father lighting a candle of The Light of the World and the Child being the Light coming down from Heaven inside the flame. Sometimes you do things in a way that people call “being in the zone” or almost completely directed by the unconscious imagination. But I like to believe the Holy Spirit who sees all things, including the exact situation you are in at that moment, guides your heart and hand to produce an image that mysteriously ministers to you, and also goes out into the world as something that is a contemplation for others to feel inside their souls too. For me this has become an image of the beginning of a life that would dramatically change all history, all of creation, and point to the night of the end of life on earth, and into the life of Eternity. This is how it is with all of us. We have this brief life here but we will live forever. I have felt both my Father and Mother’s hands still lighting my life, with the beautiful examples of their lives, and their steadfast love. But most of all, I think we all remember our parents,siblings, friends, large or small extended families, with great love, and if need be, the lovely generosity of forgiveness during this Holy Season of Advent and Christmas.
Fr Bill McNichols:the fourth week of Advent 2019