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  • Monique Sliedrecht

Early Christmas Morning


'A Winter's Voyage' - Acrylic on Linen, Wood, Found Objects 2020




It’s early morning and still dark out. I decided to get up and sit in the quiet for a while, not even the wind is blowing.

The lights are twinkling on the tree, echoing the silent stars above. And if I look out toward the sea, even in the darkness I can make out the moving lights of ships passing through the horizon. The inkiness of the ocean merges with the headland, which merges with the large expanse of sky, hardly any distinction made between one and the other, a smattering of houselights - or are they stars?

In these early hours, this Christmas day could be like any other, wrapped in a moment in time with nothing to interrupt the quietness, except for the natural and beautiful — an inquisitive robin perched near the window, a ship silently passing by, or the cry of a newborn,

‘The world in solemn stillness lay,

To hear the angels sing.’

This might have been how it was those many many years ago - a deep sense of peace in the dark and stillness after a new baby’s cry was heard in the world at midnight under the brightness of a conjunction of planets. About to wake to a new day, the first day of his little life, parents and surrounding creatures taking their rest before dawn breaks. Or maybe one parent is awake to gaze down on the sleeping face of new life.

It came upon a midnight clear.

I can start to see different shades of the inky blue and blackness outside, and make out tree branches and hills against the lightening horizon.

Light can come gradually, and it can come fiercely too.

I love the line from Bruce Cockburn’s song

‘Don't the hours grow shorter as the days go by

You never get to stop and open your eyes

One day you're waiting for the sky to fall

The next you're dazzled by the beauty of it all

Got to kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight.’

A time to forget the world’s woes and focus on light, and lights - those things that take our attention when it is black outside.

'A light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.' (John's Gospel)




A very Happy Christmas to you all.


Monique x

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