A reader’s deconstruction of a Christmas illustration

Published February 1, 2001

Dear editor,

The picture of the Madonna and Child in the Anglican Journal December issue, is rather unusual and probably offended some people. And yet this unusual depiction of the Virgin Mary and Jesus has a lot to say if we study it reflectively. Our Lord is knitting! When we look up the word “knit” in the dictionary, we see it says “to join together” or knit together closely and firmly. Another meaning is “to grow together”.

Jesus came into this world to reconcile people to their heavenly Father and bring in the Kingdom of God (Colossians 1:13) He rescued us from the power of darkness and brought us safe into the kingdom of His dear Son (Good News Bible).

When one sets out to knit something, there is a purpose; what are you going to make and who is it for? Jesus’ purpose was to bring God’s love and forgiveness; to tell people the Good News.

Looking closely at the sock that Jesus has in his hand we see a variety of shades and textures, showing how the kingdom is for all people. He has also started at the bottom. Anyone who has knitted a sock, knows we start at the top and work down to the heel and often get into difficulties when we reach the heel! But Jesus came to raise us up, so from the bottom to top is how he is knitting the sock (joining us together.)

There is also a cable pattern in the sock. Cables are used for many purposes and are different sizes. Heavy chain cables are attached to a ship’s anchor. Jesus is our anchor through the storms of life.

Mary is holding the ball of wool and we notice it is lightly in her hand. Is this a symbol of her knowing she will not be able to hold on to her son; that He is destined for a purpose on earth that will lead to His death on a cross? Or is Mary seeing God’s son as her anchor which she only needs to hang on to?

The fact that Jesus is knitting the sock from the bottom up can mean that the Kingdom of God is meant to grow as more and more people become reconciled with God their Father through Jesus Christ.

Ethel Pell

Hamilton, Ont.


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