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Narrative: This shrine celebrates the Feast of the Epiphany, Christ’s manifestation to the Gentiles. Having come to Bethlehem from three different parts of the globe and of three races, the Magi symbolize the universality of Christianity. They are also portrayed as kings of different ages, young, middle-aged and old, and represent the ages of man. Their gifts are of gold, symbolizing wealth to a king; frankincense, for adoration to one divine; and myrrh, emblem of death, used in embalming. Two angels herald them on their journey.
An oblong gray drawer is the stable housing the Holy Mother and Child. A bit of lace, tacked to the roof, forms a humble swag. A decorative door support, incorporating the design of a cross, leans against the drawer knob. This structure is balanced by two dripping candles, representing the light which Christ’s birth has shed upon the world.
Angels sing at the upper corners of the painting. Their shapes are echoed in the patterned background of frayed remnant fabric, emphasizing the poverty of this remarkable event which will affect the entire universe.
Christmas Card Message:
When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him .... (Matthew 2:10-11)
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Image © Mary Billingsley