Over the years, especially during the season of Advent, I love returning to the image of Mary the Mother of God. Her story, interpreted in so many different ways by really talented artists, is one of courage, hope, love and bravery. While I hope to make many more images of Mary, I thought I would highlight here three images that are available to you as Christmas cards, art prints, or inspiration this advent season.
My greeting cards can be ordered on Fine Art America. There are a few more days to order and receive them with standard shipping before Christmas. The cards are a good price, and you can add your own personal greeting on the inside, so they make a good option for your big Christmas mailing–you won’t have to write it out a thousand times!
#33 “But Mary Kept all these Things”
This is the earliest of them, but also the one true nativity scene. I had a lot of fun conceiving of how the shepherds, the wise men, and the people traveling to Bethlehem might fit into this style, and how everything might come together.
#72 My Soul Magnifies the Lord
“My Soul Magnifies the Lord” is the first line of the Magnificat, or the song that Mary sings when she greets Elizabeth. We often sing the magnificat during Advent, but one of my favorite things is the way that it challenges authority, power, and how it comes out of the mouth of a teenage girl who is literally on the run from her family. (Mary visits Elizabeth when she is just beginning to show–and only Elizabeth, who’s life has also been turned upside down by the Spirit, is someone she can trust.) The words are in the original Koine Greek, in her cloak: “Megalunei Phuxe Mou ton Kurion”. I also hid a bunch of faces in the background. You know. Just cuz.
#76 Do Not be Afraid, Mary
This image is new! I began it while preparing for a sermon during Advent, and it sat unfinished for months. I was playing with new pens, working on some other ideas, and made an error in the greek that I was worried about. 😉 (If you’re nerd enough, you can find it–I think I did a decent job of covering it up, but the experts will probably see it right away.)
Anyway, this is an annunciation image, with the first line that Gabriel opens with: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” In the Greek, “Me Phobou, Mariam; Eures gar xarin para towi Thewi.” One thing that I find tremendously beautiful about the Nativity story is the way that Gabriel always opens with ‘Do not be afraid.” It is the same line that Jesus often opens with–and is a constant message of God “Do not be afraid”. In the greek “Me Phobou” is in the genitive, meaning there’s a sort of untranslatable “being” to the word–in some ways, what Gabriel says is “Do not be of fear,” or do not be fear. For someone who walks a life filled with anxiety, like I’m sure you probably do too, this message is especially powerful.
This image was originally on 11×14 paper, so it also is appropriate for larger framed art, should you choose to go in that direction.
Please enjoy these for Advent & Christmas! During this season, watching what’s going on in the world, in our nation, and I imagine in your own mind–we need some hope, joy, and a reminder to not come from a place of fear.