GTA Advent Journey Day 20: Immanuel

GTA Advent Journey

Day 20: Immanuel

Madonna del Cardellino, Madonna of the Goldfinch, 1505-06, Raphael (1483-1520) oil on wood, 42 X 30 inches, Uffizi Gallery Florence, Image Source

As I gaze at this painting, I enjoy the idea of Jesus and John the Baptist, being cousins  born just a few weeks apart, playing at Mary’s feet. Raphael is able to capture a feeling of intimacy as he elegantly poses the baby Jesus at his mother’s knee while she gazes down serenely.  We can almost imagine the warmth of his chubby little foot resting on her’s. So sweet, so human and the perfect moment in time. John the Baptist with his curls holding a goldfinch; Mary dressed in red and blue symbolic of heaven/earth or human/divine.

Legend has it that the goldfinch, known for its unique red breast markings and also known for eating thorns, swooped down as Jesus suffered on the cross to pluck a thorn from his crown thus being eternally marked with a splash of Christ’s blood. A charming tale and Raphael knows that placing the bird in the picture this way will foreshadow Jesus’ passion.

Immanuel (God with Us)

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel,’ (which means God with us.) ~ Matthew 1: 22-23 quoting Isaiah 7:14

To never be alone–to always have the Divine presence of God with me. To comfort me, to guide and protect, Jesus is all of that and so much more! Can you imagine with me?

“You don’t understand!”  the child cries…

“You have no idea!”  the man grumbles and walks away…

“Welcome to my world!” the woman nods knowingly…

And God thinks: “I created the world with a word…I gave life with my breath…

I parted the sea and placed the rainbow in the sky…

But the world still doesn’t see…”

And we continue to cry out: “If only someone would truly listen. If only someone could walk in my shoes for a while, then they would know how much we suffer.”

And the Master softens his gaze—-“How can I touch their hearts? He wonders, “How can I help them experience their lives with more grace?

Just then the child steps forward; the child that is held safe within His sacred heart; and says: “Send me, for I am the best part of your love. Send me to live among the people of your creation. Let me become fully human, for I am closest to your heart and I understand you like no other.”

And the Master knows it is time;

 He sends the news to heal the world:

and the woman replies “Let it be–I am the Lord’s Servant”

 the man becomes speechless…

for unto us a child is born …

Immanuel -God with Us

In Jesus Name


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