OK. I know for most of us Christmas is so 2009. But for many Christian traditions, the Incarnation of Christ is still being celebrated. This piece was created to to help celebrate the Advent and Christmas season of 2009/2010 for my church. It went with a series of sermons that were themed together under the title "People of The Promise".
This painting is set in the context of a story in Luke 2:21-35 where Jesus is being presented in the temple. It is the moment when Simeon holds Jesus and gazes on The Promise fulfilled. In the background, the witnesses are other figures of Jesus’ past, present and future, who’s eyes have also “seen salvation.”
From left they are:
Jeremiah (holding a staff intertwined with a vine sprouting a new shoot)
John the Baptist (placing a comforting hand on the shoulder of his mother)
Mary (looking motherly towards Jesus. She also leans slightly towards Elizabeth hinting at a sense of closeness that only they can share.)
Simeon (hunched over to bring the baby Jesus into view of his weary, aging eyes)
I love how this juxtaposes the timeline of events around Jesus. I also love the intergenerational nature of this piece. And when you think about it, this piece also has a lot of baptismal significance.
The story of Simeon is one of my favorite Christmas stories. But it is seldom read in worship. I think that is a major reason why I like it so much. When the rest of the world has had their fill of mangers and shepherds, it's nice to know there are still some Christmas surprises left in the scriptures.