Oh, Come, Let Us Adore Him


I created this piece in 2011 at the request of my youngest sister, whose name I drew for Christmas.  She told me I should make a big, involved piece that I could have reproduced so that many people could enjoy it.  I did–and gave her print #1 of the limited edition of 500.  I learned a lot, about involved pieces and about printing them.  I had fun creating this tour through medieval manuscript design.  The original hangs in my home year-round.

This artwork is a giclée print; the inks and paper are archival.
The piece is 18X24” and each one is signed and numbered out of 500 by the artist.
The original is gouache, acrylic, Pigma pens, and 23 karat patent gold leaf on Arches hot press.
This piece features the lyrics to the Christmas carol “Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful.”  Included with the piece is a sheet explaining the symbols used in it, the text of which is:
It was a fascinating experience to go through centuries of medieval resource material to create this artwork. In medieval times, a vast majority of people could not read or write and visual symbols held deep meanings and communicated messages, doctrines, and ideas.
On the corners is gothic ivy. Ivy is a symbol of eternal life because it is evergreen. It also symbolizes fidelity because of the way it clings, and lasting friendship. Red and blue are the traditional colors for this style.
The red medallion at the top center is a heraldic rose. Red roses mean true love, a symbol which continues today.  They also mean martyrdom and are associated with the Virgin Mary (‘the rose without thorns’, i.e. sinless).
It was important to include fish in my piece. There are several scriptural references regarding fish, such as … I will make you fishers of men {Matthew 4:19] and … We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. [Matthew 14:17]  On a very personal note, Fish is my maiden name!  From college art history classes, I learned that the Greek word for fish was an acronym for Christ’s name. Here is the detailed breakdown:
ΙΧΘΥΣ (Ichthys) is an acronym for “Ἰησοῦς Χριστός, Θεοῦ Υἱός, Σωτήρ”, (Iēsous Christos, Theou Yios, Sōtēr), which translates into English as “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior”.
• Iota (i) is the first letter of Iēsous (Ἰησοῦς), Greek for “Jesus”.
• Chi (ch) is the first letter of Christos (Χριστός), Greek for “anointed”.
• Theta (th) is the first letter of Theou (Θεοῦ), Greek for “God’s”, the genitive case of Θεóς, Theos, Greek for “God”.
• Ypsilon (y) is the first letter of (h)yios (Υἱός), Greek for “Son” (the initial “h” was sometimes pronounced, depending on dialect and period, but in Ionic orthography the sound was written with the rough breathing diacritical mark instead of a full letter, and so would not be used to form an acronym).
• Sigma (s) is the first letter of sōtēr (Σωτήρ), Greek for “Savior”.
The fish in this piece are purple, a color of royalty because the pigment was rare. Jesus Christ is … King of kings, and Lord of lords. [1Timothy 6:15]
The yellow field contains strawberries, which mean righteousness as well as the fruitfulness of God’s spirit. The many dots of gold remind us of the endless number of stars in the sky.
On the corners of the center “Christ the Lord” panel are oak leaves. Oak symbolizes faith and endurance.
The brown panel contains a holly branch on the left and an olive branch on the right. Holly signifies the passion of Christ (the prickly leaves are reminiscent of the crown of thorns and the red berries represent Christ’s blood). An olive branch means peace and reminds us of the story of Noah.
Between the brown and red panels is a depiction of wheat, which signifies riches and thanksgiving.
The bottom panel contains grapes, an emblem of Christ, who is … the true vine … [John 15:1]  These symbols together denote the body of Christ (bread, for He is … the bread of life … {John 6:35]) and blood of Jesus (wine), which comprise the Eucharist or Sacrament. It is also a reminder to … hunger and thirst after righteousness … [Matthew 5:6]
The blue bar toward the bottom contains alpha and omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Christ is … Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. [Revelation 21:6]  On a much less religious note, the upside-down omega looks like the logo of the Colts football team, a commonly-seen symbol in the Indianapolis, Indiana, area where I reside.
It is my hope and prayer that you will find continued uplift and enrichment as you view this piece, with its beauty enhanced by the symbolism and layers of meaning.