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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Christmas Cards (11/06/08)

TITLE: Shaphat’s Masterpiece
By Ruth Neilson


With broad-brush strokes, Shaphat created the background for his masterpiece. He quickly painted his canvas blue-black and took a step back to consider the space before him.

Tonight was a new start for life.

Shaphat patiently waited for the paint to dry as he consulted his sketch. Everything had to be perfect. Everything had to be precisely placed. One misplaced color and the entire picture would be ruined.

He tentatively touched the edge of the canvas and smiled. It was time to begin. With careful dedication, Shaphat dipped his brush into the silvery paint. He began by painting the outline of a mighty hunter, his foot crushing the head of a serpent, but the hunter’s face gazing towards a cross.

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.

Shaphat paused and sucked in a deep breath.

Every warrior's boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.

He knew the story that was being portrayed in the painting; one that was of the future. He didn't think it would hurt this much to create this piece of art. The painting was only half finished, though. Shaphat continued pressing his lips together and once again dipped his brush into the shimmering paint. A balance soon appeared on the canvas, rapidly followed by a ram.

The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

He had carefully placed the images of the virgin and the lion in their places. Time was drawing near; he looked over at the hourglass and nodded once.

The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.

On the horizon of the canvas, Shaphat gingerly created a beacon, whose points lead to the cross. Bittersweet tears formed in his eyes as he took a step back away from the night sky that was his canvas.

Shaphat knew that humanity would gaze up to the sky for the answers. He knew that men would see the beacon and follow its mysterious invitation to find their salvation lying in a manger.

For to you a child is born...

With care, Shaphat hung the announcement of His Son in the heavens and nodded once to the Heavenly choir.

It was time.

Scriptures in order of their appearance (NIV): Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 9:5, Isaiah 7:14, Genesis 49:10, Isaiah 9:6

Shaphat is a Hebrew word for God that means "Judge"

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This article has been read 710 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Catrina Bradley 11/13/08
A masterpiece of a story. I had no clue as to what was going on. I recognized the subjects being painted but wasn't familiar with "Shaphat" as a name for God. The ending came as a stunning blow, and I understood why creating His masterpiece caused Him pain. VERY good!
Joanne Sher 11/14/08
Wonder if this is who I think it is...Beautifully crafted and masterfully executed. I knew something was "up" with the character's name, but my Hebrew temporarily left me ;). Glad you shared at the end.
Angela M. Baker-Bridge11/16/08
Interesting, informative, and filled with beautiful word pictures.
Lynda Schultz 11/16/08
Now here is the quintessential Christmas card! Very nice.
Leigh MacKelvey11/16/08
A beautiful image! I read another story once about the craftsmanship of our Lord ... wonder if this is the same author?! Anyway, it sure is a lovely Christmas Card, He painted through His own agony.
Sharlyn Guthrie11/17/08
This evokes powerful images, and a strong message as well.