It’s the day before Christmas, for many of us, this means a combination of last-minute gift wrapping and celebration preparation. At this time of year, I think mostly of one person. It is Mary, the mother of Jesus. And somewhere 2,000 years ago, she was probably right in the middle of what women have been doing since time immemorial. One who is destined to bring both strife and peace.
I have thought a lot about Mary’s body, the role it played in this delivery, the pain and exhaustion, the sheer trauma of it all. Or a blessed and flushed Mary staring affectionately at a rosy-cheeked infant, or showing a mean infant holding the holy court in her lap.
In these images Mary is meek, gentle and calm. In art history, it matches what Mary imagined as a bold, strong-willed, reflective and determined girl who, after pondering the life-devastating and dangerous things that were asked of her, before accepting the decision. Finding an image that does is very difficult. burden.
To my mind, Mary’s labor and deliveries seem equally important to all other parts of the Christmas story. strength, courage and resilience have been highlighted in various news stories.
“Annunciation of the Virgin” (1476) Encounter a rare depiction of the Annunciation by Sicilian artist Antonello da Messina. There is no sign of the angel Gabriel. Young Solemn Mary is disturbed by someone when she is alone while she is probably reading the Hebrew scriptures. Probably Gabriel, but also by us, the viewers. With her left hand she draws her blue veil to her chest discreetly, while her right hand extends as if to stop anyone from disturbing her own time.
Behind her is a dark, empty space that offers no clue as to where she is or what her past history is. (And she certainly wasn’t the only poor young unmarried virgin in the world).
I like this image of Mary because she heard Gabriel’s invitation. A gesture with her right hand indicates that she needs a moment to receive it. This reading and thinking Mary seems to be under serious consideration. Will she be able to take her seed of peace into her own womb, nurture it, and deliver it to an unjust and painful world? I try to imagine her contemplating all that depends on the yes: her pending marriage to Joseph, her reputation, her livelihood, not to mention the huge Not to mention the political implications.
I suspect she was calculating the entry fee. I love the fact that she’s looking directly at us and engaging us with Gabriel’s questions. I can’t help but think of women all over the world today. They share the same combination of conviction, fear, strength, and courage with Mary.
1891 painting “Nativity”, American painter Julius Garibaldi Melchers provides a tender yet powerful depiction of the divine family shortly after Jesus was born. is lying on the bare hard floor. Joseph looks down at the newborn child in deep thought.
This story forgets that Joseph was probably the only one who helped deliver the baby. Surely he has his own fatigue. However, he seems lost in both surprise and concern for this miracle baby. A baby lies in a makeshift bed. A glowing orb of light surrounds his little head, illuminating his sleeping mother’s face and Joseph’s frame.
In this piece, we can see just a few of Mary’s “yes” results. The strain on her body, the move from her home, and the lack of certainty about what to do next. But what this image highlights is that Joseph also said his own yes. He said yes to walking with Mary. He was on her side in this.
Mary’s strength is tremendous, but she probably couldn’t have done it alone. What does it mean to consider all of us to be co-workers for peace today, allies of women who put their bodies on the front lines of proverbial and literal conflict? It’s funny that the words sound so gentle and pleasant. Yet achieving peace often requires a degree of selflessness, sacrifice, resilience, and the ability to see the greater good beyond what is comfortable and easy for us as individuals. .
last few months, the world followed an uprising for women’s freedom in Iran after the death of 22-year-old Masa Amini in custody of the country’s “morality police.” She was arrested for not wearing the hijab properly. Women across the country and diaspora took off their hijabs, cut their hair and took the lead in protest, chanting “Women, Life, Freedom.”
Iranian artist Shirin Neshat has a history of using her work to highlight the situation of women in her country. ‘Woman Life Freedom’ is a public her commission which was shown in Piccadilly Her Circus, London and Los Angeles in early October. This work is based on her 1995 work “Moon Song”, part of the “Women of Allah” series in which Neshat explored the complexities of women’s lives and identities after the 1979 Iranian revolution. It’s an adaptation.
It shows a female hand with an open palm, extended towards us.The left palm is inscribed with a Persian text, an excerpt from the magical realist novel by writer Moniro Ravanipur DrownedNeshat says it creates an “allegorical analogy between the storms that take place beneath the sea and the political situation on land.” In the middle of his palm are his two bullets, symbolizing the price of struggle. The right palm is painted with a large paisley motif and petals. For Neshat, this speaks to Iran’s rich heritage. Above his hands, Neshat added the cry of the current protest movement: “Women, Life, Freedom.”
There is no peace without work, and there is no peace without some kind of compensation. It is not born out of labor or a woman’s body. God, who chose Mary, seems to approve of it. As we celebrate this season in many different ways, we may consider what it is like to be a peacemaker in our own lives and work towards peace. What makes you happy to say yes?
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