One of the challenges of the Christmas/Epiphany season is creating something new because we revisit the same story every year. Jesus is born, the Magi recognize him, Jesus is baptized. So this is a time to sit with art created by others.
Start by selecting one of the pieces through Vanderbilt’s Art in the Christian Tradition or Emory’s Pitts Digital Image Archive. Print the image, then begin by just looking at the image and paying attention to what interests you. Jot down what you notice and include why you were attracted to it. Then read the connected Scripture, notice where the artist may have been inspired by the Scripture. Take note of what they ignored. Notice what they added.
Now ask yourself how the artwork affects your understanding of the passage.
Prompts from the Past
Today’s project is a bit of a memory exercise because you’re going to write “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights” in different sizes and colors on a piece of paper until you like how it looks and you don’t have to look up the text. Start by writing it large and banner-style, then write it smaller around the edges and on top of previous writing.
Read the passage and underline the different phrases that stick out to you. Then write those phrases on a piece of paper. Doodle around the phrases while you think about why those phrases stuck out. Do they change your perspective on Jesus at all? How might it change how you live out your call? Turn the paper at a 45° angle and journal in the blank spaces.
I prefer the phrasing in Luke for this project because it says “You are my child” instead of “This is my Son.” It’s an important distinction because Luke’s phrase is open to all to be the beloved of God whereas Matthew’s defines it as Jesus. You’re going to re-create one of the classic images of Christianity by putting yourself into the image and hearing the voice of God claim you as God’s beloved. There are several options to choose from at Vanderbilt Divinity Library and Pitts Theology Library.
Once you’ve inserted yourself, add the phrase “You are my Child, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”