In this week’s Advent in Art painting, Christ is born!
We’re a little early, as I’ve said before, because in the Southern Hemisphere we don’t expect anyone to be around after Christmas Day itself. We have to get the whole story in before everyone goes camping.
Kids really benefit from repetition and preparation. They love turning up to church or school knowing in advance what’s going to happen, having something to contribute. This week’s painting is a particularly good one to chat over with a small person. Early or not, they’ll enjoy knowing things about the story and discovering new ideas about it.
What do you notice first?
How many different colours and patterns can you see? What might they tell us about the story?
What presents would you bring to Baby Jesus and his family? What have the visitors brought?
Who is in the garden, and what might he be doing?
What do you think the mum is thinking about? How is she feeling?
If you were painting this story, what would you want to show?
If you were in the painting, where would you be and what would you be doing?
My first thought when I saw the man in the garden was that he was burying the placenta, something that is common among Maori, and increasingly, among other New Zealanders.
The Navajo in America apparently do the same, so perhaps that was in Janknegt’s mind too. Or not. What else might the man in the garden be doing?
This is the third in a series of Advent paintings by James B Janknegt, curated by Alison Squires, from a concept by Mark Pierson, as a project of World Vision New Zealand for the spiritual nurture of their staff.
You can visit the Advent in Art site directly and have Mark’s reflection questions and ritual ideas emailed to you each week, and see our discussions here beginning in the first week with Advent in Art #1: Announcement. Further artworks by James B Janknegt can be seen at BC Art Farm.