The Childhood of Jesus

childhoodofjesusLeft Window Pane

These mysterious visitors came to the new-born King by following a star. Calling them Kings is actually a more recent addition. In this window they are shown as people of various origins to underline the meaning of Epiphany: the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles. In the gospels, three gifts are mentioned, but not three people. Gold symbolizes Christ’s royalty, frankincese, His priestly function, and myrrh, a burial spice, symbolizes His sacrifice.

The lower right corner of the top panel has a heraldic or flat rose. This is a symbol of the Messiah.

In the bottom medallion the Christ Child stands in the manger with arms stretched out. This refers to the Cross which becomes the means by which Christ redeems the Human race. He came to deliver humans from the consequences of sin. Some of the secondary symbols here resemble crosses. Above is a star. This was divinely provided in order to lead the visitors to the Child of prophecy.

Center Window Pane

Joseph and Mary were obedient to Jewish Law. One particular law states that when the male child is thirty days old, the mother must bring an offering to the Lord as a ransom. For people in poverty this offering was two turtledoves. Joseph is holding these in a cage.

When the parents brought Jesus to the Temmple, they met an old man named Simeon. It was revealed to Simeon that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah, the Consolation of Israel. He is shown at the top of the panel holding the Child. Simeon prophesied to Mary that “a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also”. This is demonstrated by the image of the sword piercing a heart in the lower panel. Along with this is a scroll of the Law called a Torah. Christ’s crown of thorns is also included, which fulfill part of the soul-piercing anguish felt by Mary.

Calvary’s three crosses appear as a secondary symbol, as does the monogram abbreviation for the name of Jesus. A dogwood blossom is seen as a symbol of the crucifixion because its petals resemble nail prints.

Right Window Pane

When the Wise Men told Herod in Jerusalem about a new-born King in his neighborhood, he feared an usurper to his throne. After a short time had elapsed Herod had all children two years and under slain. These children are known as Holy Innocents because their lives were forfeited in the effort to destroy the Child Jesus. One of these children is shown in the lower section of this window.

Warned by God in a dream to flee the land, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus escaped to Egypt. The upper section of this panel shows them on this journey. In the distance we see pyramids which symbolize the land of Egypt.

In the background only one secondary symbol appears. This is the chi rho (XP). The chi rho is the initials of the sacred name Jesus Christ.

Associated with this group of windows is the circular West Rose Window. This can be seen on the following page. This window contains the scene of the Holy Family in the stable under the rays of the star. The Child sits up in the manger crib to greet the shepherds who have come with their sheep to worship Him.