|Presentation at the Temple|
This charming tempera and gold leaf on parchment depicts that story. It is dated 1030-1040 and is part of the Getty Museum collection. The art history notes from the Getty include this description: In this miniature, a series of large arches frames the figures of Joseph carrying the doves for sacrifice on the left, the Virgin holding the month-old but adult-bodied Jesus in the center, and the priest Simeon on the right. The architecture places the scene in the Temple in Jerusalem, but the altar and chalice refer to the Christian sacrament of the Eucharist. Jesus' placement above the altar further alludes to the Eucharist because during that rite Jesus' body and blood are understood to be present in the bread and wine that are consecrated on the altar.
I marvel at new life during presentation ceremonies and at infant baptisms (which are not interchangeable but often occur at the same time in the little one's new life so I'm lumping them together here). I'm supposing that I'm drawn to all this because I find babies irresistible and that there is also a lot of symbolism involved...and that fits right in there with our work at Carrot Top Studio! Among these Christian symbols we can count water, a shell, the color white and the family coming together with the church that stands around them. Along these lines I recently read about a pastor that after doing an infant presentation sent the child's parents home with a letter to be opened by the child when he turned 12. The letter told the child how he'd been prayed for by his parents and church family and that he was a gift from God. It continued to encourage the child to trust in God as he traveled on his journey in life. Simeon told Mary and Joseph what their child was to become. The pastor I have told you about urges children at this coming of age time that they too can follow God's plan.
The symbols and colors we use and the way we mark an event or milestone in our faith are quite varied. As God has instructed us, "There is a time for every season...." and as we pass through these seasons (such as welcoming new life) may take the time to give them the attention they deserve. It is because of these children that the church will have a future.
Carrot Top Studio offers several stoles for Baptism you may find them here and the line of stoles that might connect visually with children can be seen here.