Saturday, 19 December 2020

Nativity

 

Nativity
hand printed linocut by Teresa Newham


For this year's Christmas card I decided to make a linocut of the Nativity.  It incorporates the whole of the Bible account of Jesus' birth - Holy Family, star, shepherds, kings - although in the Bible they are not all present at the same time.  When we set up our own Nativity at home we always position the kings to one side until after Christmas, as technically they didn't reach Bethlehem until Epiphany (6th January).

For this, the tenth linocut Christmas card I've produced, I returned to traditional lino, using the Swiss Pfeil linocut tools I got for Christmas last year. This year I'm in the process of sharing all of the cards on Instagram, along with other Christmas-themed artworks, on a sort of daily Advent Calendar, where I also suggest a Christmas carol of the day.

The carol I'm suggesting for the Nativity image is "The First Nowell", because it mentions shepherds, kings and the star:


The first Noel the angel did say 
was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay; 
in fields where they lay keeping their sheep, 
on a cold winter's night that was so deep. 
Refrain: Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel. 

They looked up and saw a star 
shining in the east, beyond them far; 
and to the earth it gave great light, 
and so it continued both day and night. [Refrain]

And by the light of that same star 
three Wise Men came from country far; 
to seek for a king was their intent, 
and to follow the star wherever it went. [Refrain]

This star drew nigh to the northwest, 
o'er Bethlehem it took its rest; 
and there it did both stop and stay, 
right over the place where Jesus lay. [Refrain]

Then entered in those Wise Men three, 
full reverently upon the knee, 
and offered there, in his presence, 
their gold and myrrh and frankincense. [Refrain]


As Christmas approaches - one of the strangest and most unsettling Christmases we have surely ever experienced - I pray that the Christmas message of peace, hope and love may strengthen and bless us all: wherever we are, whatever our faith, no matter how difficult our circumstances.


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