Christmas, Day 3

No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.

—John 1:18 (NLT)

LOOK: The Word by Nicholas Mynheer

Mynheer, Nicholas_Incarnation
Nicholas Mynheer (British, 1958–), The Word, 2000. English limestone and cast glass, height 102 cm. South aisle, Birmingham Cathedral, UK.

This sculpture on the theme of the Incarnation of the Word was commissioned by the Cathedral Church of Saint Philip in Birmingham, England, for the new millennium. The sun shines on the work through the south window, casting light from the colored glass pieces over and across the stone and the surrounding wall.

“The changing light and shadows represent for me the ongoing Incarnation and not merely an historical event,” says artist Nicholas Mynheer. He notes the combination of heaven (glass) and earth (stone).

This is a Trinitarian image: the Father, anthropomorphized but nongendered, presents his glory, the Son, spoken, breathed, coming as infant, and both are embraced by the arcing sweep of the Holy Spirit.

To learn more about the artist, visit his website and check out this feature I wrote about him for Transpositions a few years ago.

LISTEN: “The Glory of the Father” | Words adapted from John 1 | Music by Egil Hovland, 1957; edited by Frank Pooler, 1974 | Performed by the National Lutheran Choir (US), dir. David Cherwien, 2018

The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.
We beheld the glory of the Father,
Full of grace and truth.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God.
In Him was life, and the life was the light of all.
He came to his own, and his own, received him not.

The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.
We beheld the glory of the Father,
Full of grace and truth.

Advent, Day 21

LOOK: gloria by Corita Kent

Kent, Corita_gloria
Corita Kent (American, 1918–1986), gloria, 1960. Serigraph.

From the Corita Art Center:

Corita Kent (1918–1986) was an artist, educator, and advocate for social justice. At age 18 she entered the religious order Immaculate Heart of Mary, eventually teaching in and then heading up the art department at Immaculate Heart College. Her work evolved from figurative and religious to incorporating advertising images and slogans, popular song lyrics, biblical verses, and literature. Throughout the ’60s, her work became increasingly political, urging viewers to consider poverty, racism, and injustice. In 1968 she left the order and moved to Boston. After 1970, her work evolved into a sparser, introspective style, influenced by living in a new environment, a secular life, and her battles with cancer. She remained active in social causes until her death in 1986. At the time of her death, she had created almost 800 serigraph editions, thousands of watercolors, and innumerable public and private commissions.

LISTEN: “God in Flesh, Our Hope Divine” by The Brilliance (David Gungor and John Arndt), on Advent, vol. 2 (2012; reissued 2021)

God of heaven, Lord of earth
We beseech thee
Born of Mary, virgin birth
Lord, we greet thee
God in flesh, our hope divine
Alleluia
Babe of heaven, God’s own son
Alleluia

Star of David, Son of Man
God be with us
Suff’ring servant, wounded lamb
Bring peace to us
Broken flesh, our hope divine
Alleluia
Lifted up for all mankind
Alleluia

Gloria, gloria, gloria in excelsis Deo! (×2)

Root of Jesse which shall stand
Lord, we need thee
Banner o’er the nations
We receive thee
Glorious resting place for all
Alleluia
Jew and Gentile, welcome home
Alleluia

Gloria, gloria, gloria in excelsis Deo! (×2)

“Come, Lord Jesus,” people sing
We are yearning
Give us back the garden
We are longing
On that day we’ll see thy face
Alleluia
This whole realm in your embrace
Alleluia

Gloria, gloria, gloria in excelsis Deo! (×6)