For Christmas this year I offer you a photo of a work of art I used here a couple of Christmases ago, and do so with the permission of the artist, Roger Loveless. It's called "In the Hands of the Father," and the more I look at it the more I like it.
We, of course, have no idea exactly what the surroundings looked like when Jesus was born, though twice in my life I've been to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and seen the star pictured here in the grotto of the church that, by tradition, marks the spot of the birth. (I shot this photo last year.)
But tradition is different from historical reality, often.
So what a painting like the one here by Loveless offers is a metaphor, a parable, if you will, that allows your own imagination to come up with a picture of what that reality may have been. And as someone once said about imagination, the pictures are better on radio.
Last Sunday we took our four-month-old granddaughter to church to listen to the J.S. Bach cantata, "Sleepers, Wake!" I got to hold her as she paid close attention to the music.
So above you have an image called "In the Hands of the Father." And to the right is one we might call "In the Hands of the Grandfather."
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AND IN THE PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES. . .
For Christmas in Bethlehem, which I've been privileged to visit twice in my life, here's an account. Seems like it's time for the Prince of Peace finally to bring some peace to that region.
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P.S.: My latest National Catholic Reporter column now is online. To read it, click here.