For our last carol for the Christmas season we’ve selected the old staple, O Come All Ye Faithful; written in 1844 by John Francis Wade. With much delicate grace given recent events in our nation, Matthew 2:13-23 is today’s focus passage. Jesus is now born and the wise men have visited and paid their tributes to the child king. Herod the Great reigns as king over Judea and has paid close attention to the presence of so many important figures travelling on his territory. He commanded the wise men to bring a detailed report back to him so that he too can go worship Jesus. Seeing through his plan, the men return to their homeland by a different route. Herod learns that the wise men disobeyed his command and acted as he often did during his reign, with rash violence. To protect his throne from a child who was prophesied to become king over the Jews, Herod commands his soldiers murder every boy, two years old or under, living in Bethlehem. At days end, Herod’s regime murdered 15-20 children in his kingdom that day. Herod’s actions, though violent and terrible, fulfilled the prophecy made by Jeremiah.
In the midst of this beautiful season when Christians celebrate the birth of our savior, we find a horrible account of families being torn apart and lives being destroyed. The pain inflicted on these families is the result of a damaged world which Jesus was born to redeem.With the notion of God’s provision in mind, I used a hand as the basis of today’s image. I borrowed the style from many of Scott Erikson’s pieces, creating a geometrical stained glass appearance and inserting words into the shapes. At the center of the palm is a new born child, representing Jesus and placed in the center of the palm as an allusion to His crucifixion. Along the top of the palm is the word ‘presence’. The presence of God brings the attributes on each finger and the physical presence of God in Jesus is our reason to celebrate. The thumb holds the word ‘hope’ because the thumb is used to give a universal sign of positive approval. ‘Redemption’ is on the pointer finger because the arrival of the Messiah brought the opportunity of redemption to you. The middle finger contains the word ‘freedom’ because it is the finger used by medieval archers to draw their bows; freedom does not come with out a fight. Whether internal or external, there will always be a struggle to obtain and keep freedom. On the ring finger you see the word ‘salvation’. Christ is the bride of the church and individual salvation is contingent upon our commitment to that relationship. Last, the little finger represents life. I have no deep symbolism for placing life in this finger, I wanted to include the word ‘life’ and chose the pinky finger by default!
This Christmas, despite the terrible events of the last few weeks that have impacted our nation and our communities, O come, let us adore Him. Christ the Lord.