Each year, for the past seven years, I’ve tried to create a nativity plate that people will want to keep out year round to remind them of Christ. I’ve typically released these in October, but this year, I feel like we need the truths and peace of God now, and more than ever before.
2020 will be a year we will remember for the upheaval of all things “normal.” Mary and Joseph, certainly stressed by their own circumstances, have fallen asleep at opposite ends of the bed of hay. Feel crowded and donning masks, with their feet in each other’s faces, they have still found a way to become one through their love of Christ.
The Christ child, awake and alert and filled with love, was inspired by one of my favorite quotes by Victor Hugo, “Have courage for the great sorrows of life, and patience for the small ones, and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace, God is awake.” When we turn away from the polarizing voices and events of the world and come back to the center—the only place on a potter’s wheel where balance can be found—we will find the peace of Christ.
There are only three feet in this picture, symbolic of the three foundation stones of Faith, Hope, and Charity. “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 While creating this bowl I thought of the great burden both Mary and Joseph carried, but my mind turned to Joseph. He could have walked away from this pregnant fiancé, but instead, with charity and understanding given him by God, he not only preserved Mary’s honor, but he took on the responsibilities of loving and fathering a child that he knew was not his own. Thank you, Joseph, for being an honorable man, full of compassion and charity to his family.
The wheat and the grapes on the border are symbolic of the bread and wine—the body and the blood of Christ’s sacrament. Through regularly remembering his sacrifice for each of us, repenting, and renewing our covenants, we can have the peace of God’s spirit in our hearts, lives and homes to strengthen, encourage and direct us.
“Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourself of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ, and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.” Moroni 10:32
The MMXX on Joseph’s cuff are Roman numerals for 2020.