Epiphany: Glory

And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

—Colossians 3:4

Epiphany, meaning “revelation,” is the capstone of the Christmas season. In this final post of this year’s Christmas series, I leave you with a striking, light-flecked painting from Japan and a slow-tempo Black gospel song from the US. What marvel, that God’s glory fills such places as ours, and that he invites us not only to behold his glory but also to participate in it.

May God’s light continue to guide and enfold you throughout the year, and may you never stop seeking his face.

To view a compilation of this season’s numbered Christmas posts, click here; for Advent, here.

LOOK: Morning Star by Hiroshi Tabata

Tabata, Hiroshi_Morning Star
Hiroshi Tabata (田畑弘) (Japanese, 1929–2014), Morning Star, 1998. Oil on canvas, 90.9 × 72.7 cm. Private collection. Photo courtesy of the Estate of Hiroshi Tabata.

Born in Takaoka City, Hiroshi Tabata (1929–2014) studied art at the University of Toyama, later moving to France for two years for further art education. He exhibited his work throughout Japan and at Parisian salons. From 1966 to 1972 he lived intermittently in Brazil among the Xingu people, which led to his conversion to Christianity. From then on until his death, he painted biblical subjects. “The Bible is the ultimate theme for me,” he said; its world is “infinitely deeper” than we can comprehend.

In Tabata’s expressionistic Morning Star, starlight falls in a luminescent sheen over the face of the Christ child, whom Mary looks upon in tender adoration as Joseph wonders at the angelic activity above. The tight cropping around the Holy Family heightens the sense of intimacy. A sheep, donkey, and Amazon parrot (the latter a callback to his time in Brazil) crowd into the foreground, while on distant hills shepherds behold the glorious light display, hear the announcement that will propel them to their newborn Messiah. The wise men, too, are on their way. Epiphany is at hand. Heaven’s raining down (Isa. 45:8).

This visual reflection (by me) originally appeared in the Christmas/Epiphany 2022–23 edition of the Daily Prayer Project. Tabata’s art appears on the cover, by kind permission of his son-in-law. To view more biblical art by Tabata, see the beautifully produced, full-color book 田畑弘作品集 一つの星 (Hiroshi Tabata Works: One Star); the text is all Japanese.

LISTEN: “A Star Stood Still (Song of the Nativity)” | Words and music by Barbara Ruth Broderick and Johnny Broderick, 1956 | Performed by Mahalia Jackson with the Falls-Jones Ensemble, conducted by Johnny Williams, on Silent Night: Songs for Christmas, 1962

And we shall share
In the glorious light

In Bethlehem
The wind had ceased
The Lamb lay sleeping
On the hill

When all the earth
Was stilled with peace
Then lo, a star stood still

A star stood still
On yonder hill
Praise God that star still
Shining still

And we shall share
In the glory of love
Because a star stood still
That night a star stood still

A star stood still
On yonder hill
Praise God that star still
Shining still

And we shall share
In the glory of love
Because a star stood still
That night a star stood still

Note to readers: Art & Theology is noncommercial, but I do accept donations (monetary, or in-kind books!) to help keep it running. Learn more here.

3 thoughts on “Epiphany: Glory

  1. Victoria, did you notice that Joseph figure looks like a Xingu man and Mary’s a japanese woman?
    It made me think that the savior came to people from East to West!

    Like

  2. […] Today’s a good day to check out Art and Theology. That link takes you to today’s Friday’s post, this to all those tagged “Epiphany” – what I love about this blog is the global and general Christian perspective. It is good for Catholics, who can sometimes we think we have the monopoly on the “faith n’ arts” market – to see that this is just…not true. […]

    Like

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