Happy Christmas, 2019


N.C. Wyeth, "On Christmas Night by Bethlehem town"
c. 1924, shamelessly pinched from Plum Leaves.

According to this external hard drive, I first started doing 12 Days in 2007, each year with a minor variation on the theme: saints of Christmas, favorite carols, Christmas in literature, shepherds, magi, multicultural madonna and child, the holy family.... I don't think I've repeated an artwork yet (wouldn't swear to it). This year's theme is, loosely, Christmas in illustrations, though perhaps peppered with just "new to me."  Next decade I'm going to start doing retrospectives! 

Anyway, if you managed to wend your way here when the blog is mostly silent these days, welcome -- and Merry Christmas!

Pope Francis' homily for Midnight Mass is lovely:

A charming legend relates that at the birth of Jesus the shepherds hurried to the stable with different gifts. Each brought what he had; some brought the fruits of their labour, others some precious item. But as they were all presenting their gifts, there was one shepherd who had nothing to give. He was extremely poor; he had no gift to present. As the others were competing to offer their gifts, he stood apart, embarrassed. At a certain point, Saint Joseph and Our Lady found it hard to receive all those gifts, especially Mary, who had to hold the baby. Seeing that shepherd with empty hands, she asked him to draw near. And she put the baby Jesus in his arms. That shepherd, in accepting him, became aware of having received what he did not deserve, of holding in his arms the greatest gift of all time. He looked at his hands, those hands that seemed to him always empty; they had become the cradle of God. He felt himself loved and, overcoming his embarrassment, began to show Jesus to the others, for he could not keep for himself the gift of gifts.Dear brother, dear sister, if your hands seem empty, if you think your heart is poor in love, this night is for you. The grace of God has appeared, to shine forth in your life. Accept it and the light of Christmas will shine forth in you.