A Carpenter and his Boy

St. Joseph and the Child Jesus  by John Collier

St. Joseph and the Child Jesus by John Collier

Some days there will be painting entries that are just that, a painting. Other days some thoughts will accompany it. Today there are only a few thoughts:

What do we see here?

A stark room, beautiful in its simplicity, but the type of room which when lived in perhaps doesn’t instantly strike one as actually being beautiful. Smooth, handmade walls, a wooden work table, just a few colors, light that penetrates and illuminates. Within these walls, this light streams in from the left, highlighting Joseph, a man of glorious simplicity, a man content to relish the mundane. He stares out, gentle, drawing us in, inviting us to speak, but also allowing us to be still and silent, to just work. At his side, in the shadows, is his son. This painting strikes with its contemporary feel, and pulls the story of Joseph and his son into our place, our time, our world. It breaks down time, and allows then to be now, and now to be then.


Happy feast day of St. Joseph!


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Jess Sweeney is the founder and editor of Commonplace Living. One Sunday in November of 2018 she experienced a simple but glorious morning from which emerged the concept for this project and community. That Sunday included a cup of coffee, beautiful morning light, an On Being interview with Christian Wiman, and drawing a tree in her backyard. That day, the idea of seeing the glory all around, as Dostoevsky describes, really came to life.