For centuries artists have depicted Jesus’ nativity in a humble stable, with Jesus cradled in hay, surrounded by shepherds. For those of us who have never seen a stable or a shepherd, Tatyana Molodyk gives us an image of Jesus’ birth in a contemporary setting — using simple and familiar items. With glue and pages cut from magazines, she creates a striking and beautiful portrait of the Holy Family. Molodyk does not clutter the setting with the things of life that may distract us from focusing on Jesus. Often the simplest designs offer the deepest symbolism, and so it is with Molodyk’s, Nativity.
At first glance, baby Jesus appears to be floating in the air. A closer look reveals the cross-shaped legs of the manger that cradles the Son of God. The manger’s legs are anchored to Mary and Joseph, symbolizing the divine and human connection found in the birth of Jesus Christ. Wrapped in purple bands of cloth, Jesus is encircled by a halo of hay. While Joseph looks at Jesus, Mary looks at us, as if she beckons each of us to draw near so that we can hear the angel of the Lord declare, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:30-32, NIV).
May we all draw closer to the Christ child during this holy season and give God thanks for the good news of great joy that remains as meaningful and profound today as it was 2000 years ago.
Cover art courtesy of Dennis and Janet Fisher. © 2011 Tatyana Molodyk. Prints of cover art are available from firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Thank you for the creative teams [of The Upper Room] who are working together to share the power of prayer around the world. You have collaborated with everyone working from our homes to share the gifts of hope, love, grace, and peace." (Written in response to The Upper Room COVID-19 response efforts). View Jaqui's video contribution to the initiative, helping us create space and time for God in these anxious times.