“God with us”
As the celebrations of Christmas become the focus this time of year, I am reminded of some things.
Historically and culturally Jesus is not white. I struggle everytime I see white baby Jesus now that I understand this myself. Jesus was Middle Eastern. Historically visual translations of the bible throughout art history were commisioned to visually narrate to the illiterate masses the saving grace of gospel stories in picture forms and it did it in the most relevant likenesses of their time that connected people to the stories.
We have such a small world now due to technology advances that we can connect at the touch if a finger with further study and with more current information about the cross, but often we get stuck in our comfort zone of the known. I think we all do this with a lot of areas and things in our life.
But the key thing that stands out to me at this time of year is: I can’t see baby Jesus without the cross.
As part of my community church windows I was one of five artists invited to visually respond to a poem written. Thank you Justin, it is a beautiful poem!
More often than not I have work processing, unpacking, deconstruction, rearranging and reconstructing in my head all the time. Some images have been birthed only in thought and don’t find their true form until pen or brush reaches the canvas. This was one of those images. I have carried the concept of Christ and Cross as an image in my mind for many years. When I finally got it down on paper the first draft was exploring a toddler aged figure, but that just didn’t work. Instead this artwork evolved, prompted from the poem.
This image marries together both the babe and the cross . This baby born to take on the role of King, Saviour, Ruler, Redeemer, conceived through immaculate conception, would enter the world born the same way everyone else has before and since. A fragile, vulnerable baby.
It is here Jesus meets us where we are, experiencing humanity to show us he always did understand us, but we needed to see it for ourselves. He needed to show us the way through the good, the bad and the ugly parts of life so that we could also see the sweet, beautiful aroma filled parts we don’t see because of the hard stuff. He would live the hard stuff in the end for us, to the death, to bring our reconciliation with God. The ultimate gift. But it didn’t stop at his death, his resurrection power brought him back to life, conquering death. This is the power or Christ in each of us who call him Saviour.
For me, being on the journey with Jesus, continuing to get to know him more each day, is the key to navigation life through hope. Whatever comes at me I can get through with hope and the strength Jesus gives me.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve over complicated that for too often. Christmas time helps to remind me of simpler truths.
How do you see Jesus at Christmas?