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Christmas On The Edge

We were delighted to feature Caitlin Ambery’s painting, “Christmas at the Old Quick Church” alongside Malcolm Guite’s poem “Christmas on the Edge” in our 2019 Christmas print issue.

Cathy Smith muses on the painting, “Christmas at the Old Quick Church”:

Here’s a church at the edge. Nothing around it, no other buildings. All by itself in the northern wilderness. But it’s still in the centre . . . of the painting. Gospel at the centre of the world. The lit sanctuary draws in the haloed faithful, young and old, male and female. In the open doorway someone waves a welcome. Pastor? Custodian? Christ himself?

The northern lights arc in a dynamic sweep, an atmospheric halo framing the church, accenting its centrality. To me those colourful lines in the sky speak to the “galaxy” and “cosmic origin” in Malcolm Guite’s poem. The scene has a nostalgic quality but then it goes further; the northern lights invite a broader application. Good News at the centre of time and space . . . even at the edge. Per Guite, “all things are re-aligned.”

Malcolm Guite "Sounding the Seasons"

“Christmas On the Edge” is from Sounding the Seasons by Malcolm Guite, © Canterbury Press, 2012, used by permission. Poet-Priest Malcolm Guite, who was Chaplain for 20 years at Girton College, Cambridge, reflects deeply on how poetry can stimulate and re-awaken our prayer life. He’s the author of more than 10 books and poetry collections, most recently The Quarantine Quatrains. His poetic response to the Psalms called David’s Crown will be published in spring 2021. Malcolm enjoys sailing, walking, old books and live music; he also plays in the rock band Mystery Train.


  • Caitlin Ambery

    “Christmas at the Old Quick Church” was painted by Caitlin Ambery, an artist born in rural, northern B.C. who grew up in Victoria and now lives in Smithers, B.C. She paints predominantly in acrylics, with many thin layers building upon each other. She often incorporates people into her artwork, as “a way of exploring her views on the importance of what it is to be a human being, participating in relationship with creation and creator”.

  • Cathy Smith

    Cathy Smith, former features editor and columnist for Christian Courier, is a retired Christian schoolteacher who lives in Wyoming, Ont.

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