The First Christmas

“Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death– even death on a cross.” — Philippians 2:6-8

Christmas and Easter are combined in this passage.

Descent (2005) (11″ x 14″)
collage and acrylic on canvas

Child Jesus in the Temple

Another presaging of events to come is described in Luke 2:41-51 where the 12-year old Jesus leaves his parents and has a conversation with the teachers in the Temple.  During Jesus’ later ministry he will have many such conversations with the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees. Most of these will be much more contentious. Instead of treating Jesus as a religious prodigy, he will be viewed by the religious leaders as a threat to their belief system and the welfare of the Jewish people.

The collage below takes its start from a picture by the great illustrator Gustav Dore’.

Jesus With the Doctors (2011) (11″ x 14″)
collage on canvas

Slaughter of the Innocents

This piece was inspired by Leon Cogniet’s painting of the same name. Herod’s killing of the innocent children in Bethlehem is a vivid reminder that not all the events surrounding Jesus’ early life were pleasant ones. It also presages the end of Christ’s life when he, The Innocent One, was murdered by the Roman authorities.

Slaughter of the Innocents (2011) (11″ x 14″)
collage on canvas


Flight to Egypt

There has been much nonsense written about Jesus picking up occult knowledge while in Egypt. However, this much is true: By the Holy Family going to Egypt and then returning to Israel, Jesus was recapitulating the journey of his people many years earlier.

The picture below gets its inspiration from a somewhat obscure painting by Adam Badowski.

Flight to Egypt (2011)(14″ x 11″)
collage on canvas

The Three Wise Men

There are many traditions concerning the three men from the East who came to visit the Christ child sometime after he was born, but the Bible says surprisingly little about them. We don’t even know how many there were, only that they came with three gifts. And we certainly do not know their names or racial types. In any case, their coming presages the later turning of many Gentiles to Christ.

The collage below is based on a piece by Albrecht Durer.

Adoration of the Magi (2011) (11″ x 14″)
collage on canvas

Annunciation

This Christmas season seemed like a good time to “re-run” a series of collages I highlighted earlier. They were all based on famous paintings telling the story of the birth and childhood of Jesus. The first collage takes as its inspiration “The Annunciation” by Botticelli and pictures the angel’s message to Mary.

 Annunciation (2011) (11″ x 14″)
collage on canvas

“Judge Not”

A persistent theme in the New Testament is the danger of focussing ones attention on others’ faults while ignoring our own.

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Judge Not (2010) (7 1/2″ high)
modified microscope
This microscope has been modified so that the light is on the top rather than the bottom. Thus, any attempt to look at the subject merely shines on the viewer instead. As someone has wisely observed, “When you point a finger at someone else, there are three other fingers pointing at yourself.

“I stand at the door and knock”

Laodicea (2011) (11″ x 14″)
acrylic and collage on wood panel
At the conclusion to the letters to the seven churches stands Jesus’ concluding promise. Some feel that it is addressed specifically to the church at Laodicea while others take it as general promise to all the churches. And then there are people like Bill Bright who had the insight to apply Jesus’ words to each individual, even the unsaved, wishing to have fellowship with the Savior.

“I Am”

There are seven “I am” statements of Jesus recorded in John’s Gospel. This phrase has special weight since God’s personal name in the Old Testament, YHWH, may be translated as “I am.” The piece shown below has as its background passages from the Gospel of John with seven imbedded wooden balls painted in symbols reminiscent of the seven statements.

I Am (2010) (12″ x 12″)
mixed media