Glencairn Abbey Cards

Featured card of the day: Holy Family

Featured card of the day: Holy Family

Today’s featured card is C12, Holy Family.

This is a simple, beautiful card; a traditional Christmas scene showing Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

Mary holds the baby on her lap. But she is not holding him in close to herself; she holds him gently out a little, non-possessively offering him to all the world, because although he is her child, he is not hers alone: he has come into the world for the sake of everyone. She gazes thoughtfully at the baby, completely focused on him.

Joseph is also looking at the child with joy – perhaps we see in his face too something of the slight apprehension or bemusement of a new father? His hand, pointing to Jesus, along with Mary’s hand, directs our attention to the child, the main focus of the scene. Joseph’s other arm is outstretched, holding his staff, surrounding his family in a strong gesture of protection.

The child Jesus – alarmingly devoid of even the soft downy hair of a newborn! – does not look at either of the adults, but directs his eyes elsewhere. His world and his future are not limited to the place of his birth and those immediately around him.

Outside, the night sky is full of stars which penetrate the darkness – one main star, whose rays point down to the stable and the child, and lots of smaller stars. And yes, while Sr Paula has painted most of the stars in traditional five-pointed shape, some among them are in the shape of a cross.

An interesting feature of this card is that we are not looking at the scene from outside. Often in nativity scenes we look through a doorway into the stable, but here we, the viewers, are inside, forming part of the company in the stable, and we can see out through the arched doorway into the dark night. We are already situated, as it were, in the light of the newborn Christ – why would we want to go back out into the darkness again?

Little details in the scene such as Joseph’s sandals and the strength conveyed in the grip of his right hand on the staff make this a card that is both attractive and robust.

The greeting inside the card is in both English and Irish:

Blessings and Peace at Christmas

Beannachtaí agus Síocháin um Nollaig

You can find this card here.

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