Advent 2 – One fellow tells of his work as a hospital volunteer

Written by Dr. Wayne Brouwer /
December 19, 2023

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One fellow tells of his work as a hospital volunteer. He couldn’t believe the pain and suffering he saw there. Burn victims. Deformities. Terminal cancer. He watched the little ones cry. Some were so lonely: their parents couldn’t take the trauma, so they never came to see their own children. How horrible!

He decided to get a clown’s nose, and a pair of oversized shoes. Then he painted his face and pulled on a wig. When he went to work dressed like that the next day, some of the children were scared, some were captivated, and some even showed hints of a smile for the first time in ages.

But others couldn’t stop wailing. They were consumed by agony. What could he do for them? The next day the clown brought along some popcorn. When he came to the side of a crying child, he took a kernel of popcorn, placed it against the child’s cheek, and soaked up the cascading tears with its fluff. Then he popped that kernel into his mouth and ate it.

It was a stroke of genius. The only time some of those children stopped crying was the moment they knew that somebody else cared enough to swallow their tears.

Isaiah knew that. In a world of tears and pain, the curtains hiding the future parted ever so slightly as God gave him glimpses of a future age when “the wolf would lie down with the lamb” and “nation will not make war against nation” and “a young child would lead them.”

Edward Hicks caught the vision. Maybe, more truthfully, that vision caught him. His first painting of Isaiah’s “Peaceable Kingdom” appeared in 1820. The animals look cartoonish, the sizes aren’t quite right. For the next two decades, Hicks would keep on trying. 62 times he tried. The colors became darker. The sneers on wild beasts’ snouts looked more threatening. The ambiance grew increasingly sinister.

But always, at the center, was the Child…

image originated from: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/11081


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