Thursday, 24 November 2016

The Adoration of the Magi: Peter Brueghel 1525-1569

Over the next few weeks my church in Amersham will once again be travelling through Advent with some wonderful paintings as our companions on this journey to Christmas.  These paintings will be shown at our services, displayed on our vestibule monitor and be on a special Advent leaflet given to the congregation, and shown on this Blog!! I think it’s a great way to help us along the way to Christmas.

The first painting is The Adoration of the Magi by Brueghel the Elder and it’s a chaotically crowded scene; I love the people on camels!

Is this a noisy or hushed crowd?

Here are people from all nations; it’s as if the whole world is coming to see the baby called Jesus.  Yet every crowd is made of individuals and Brueghel is a master at painting the details of so many different faces.

There is a momentum, from family expectation to the jingles played over and over in shops, that forces us to walk towards Christmas.  Yet I long for this year’s journey to be different from last year’s.  I’m a year older and the Road to Bethlehem, and maybe even the significance of what I’ll find there, is not quite the same as last year.  It’s a personal journey – I come as an individual.

Brueghel paints princes and paupers, all life is here.

Yet there are two characters with their backs to us and to Jesus who seem detached form what’s going on around them as they talk to each other and look at the river! 

And there are people at the back of the crowd who cannot possibly have a clue at what the front row people are looking at! 

Christmas has a chaos all its own.  Yet somewhere, and at some time, it holds the potential to thrill and amaze us and see life with a new wonder.

Maybe I’m on a camel, perhaps I’m looking at the river or possibly I’m still at the back of the crowd wondering what is going on.  I’m in there somewhere – perhaps you are too!

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