The beauty of Christmas to me is the humanity it brings. I truly believe the reason we connect to Christmas so much is and the imagery of baby Jesus is the humanness portrayed in the story. There is nothing more human than a newborn baby. All of us started this way, all of us looked similar to this infant, and so there is something profoundly connective and unifying in the birth of Jesus.
As Christians, we proclaim that Jesus is both fully human and fully God. In the Christmas story, Jesus’ humanity is laid bare for all to see. The infinite and powerful creator of everything seen and unseen lays wrapped in cloths in a woman’s arms. The humanity, vulnerability, and upside-downness of this moment for God cannot be underscored.
I believe this picture “Be It Unto Me," floating around on Facebook by Liz Lemon Swindle just captures something in the depths of my soul revealing the humanity of the situation. The drooling, goobering, infant Jesus seeking to reconcile being out of the mother’s womb is powerful. At the same time, Mary’s eyes peer out with shadows under them reminding all of the sleepless nights of a mother and newborn. The closeness and holding onto each other of Jesus and Mary is comforting and again surprisingly human. I feel as if this artwork could be a picture captured at just the right moment as the wiggle worm known as Jesus is being adjusted as Mary is midsentence talking to someone.
The power of this painting is the seeming realism of baby Jesus, just like the power of Christmas.
The Word became Flesh and dwelt among us. It started out messy, and sometimes poop got all over the place. There were spit up rags for the child of God, and sleepless nights for his mother. All the while the love of God for humanity shown brightly through the love of a mother to her son, and a son to his mother.
How does this artwork strick you?