Since it’s release in 1978, the album “A Christmas Portrait” by the Carpenter’s, a brother/sister duo, has been part of my Christmas listening tradition. Karen was the lead vocalist, and her brother, Richard, was the musician, composer, arranger and back-up singer.
I was singing along with the CD last week while traveling in my car and, as always, I skipped over the instrumental songs so I could sing along with Karen. (Car acoustics are always the best, aren’t they!!)
Surprisingly, I had an epiphany after these 37 years. The instrumental numbers, most centered around piano and orchestra, were Richard Carpenter’s moments to shine. Richard’s gifts, which were necessary for their success, were usually not the focus of the award-winning songs heard on the radio where Karen’s voice took center stage.
Richard provided the “canvas” so to speak for Karen’s songs. Our church worship team, once attended a conference where the musicians were referred to as the “canvas” on which the vocalists painted their songs. For years this was a joke with our Praise Band.
However, in truth, how could we keep the beat, stay in tune, or create an atmosphere of worship in which God was glorified without the musical canvas they provided?
That being said, I want to encourage each of us to take a moment to inspect of our lives where certainly we see ourselves as the “stars.” However, who and what comprise the “canvas” so necessary to our success and joy in life.
To name a few there are parents and family members, spouses, co-workers, teachers, and friends. Are you beginning to see the “canvas” come to life? How could we be who we are without their support, encouragement and love.
It is my prayer that you have also allowed Jesus artistic freedom in being the primary artist of your life’s “canvas,” for how can we ever be complete without the brushstrokes of The Master’s hand? Hopefully you have given Him full liberty in the composition of your “canvas.”
Granted, there will inevitably be times when we grab the brush and take over the job that is not ours with a knowledge we do not have and the canvas will look like the finger painting of pre-schoolers. If your canvas is looking a mess about now, step away from the brush!
“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
Give God the freedom to create beauty that only He can. He promises to make your “canvas” a beautiful one. In times of loss, or pain, or illness or doubt, God is adding depth and richness to the “canvas” that otherwise could not have existed. He is strengthening your faith and maturing you. You simply have to trust Him with the “brush” of your life to be the author and finisher of your faith.
Please thank those who have contributed to your life’s canvas, those behind the scenes of your successes, the wind beneath your wings! Where would we be without them? Where would we be without Jesus? I will leave you with a short instrumental by Richard Carpenter, who provided a beautiful musical “canvas” for his sister. Enjoy! To God Be the Glory!