The Adoration of the Magi

Elliot Ewritt Elliot Erwitt, Mother and Child
"The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication.                                       And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi."
--O’Henry “Gift of the Magi (Excerpt).
Elliot Ewritt’s photo evokes the deep love and adoration of a mother for her child; it also evokes the love of family and each member's happiness in the poorest of circumstances, hence -- love, as the gift, is the story of The Magi. It  reminded me for that reason of O’Henry’s wonderful story about a couple who are deeply in love, desperately poor, living in a tiny flat but willing to sell their most precious possessions to buy one another a Christmas present. It is one of my favorite stories of all time.
federico Barocci 1528-1612
Adoration of the Magi ~ Chalk Sketch

Since we were so heartfully engaged in the Christmas season, the season of Advent, and the celebration of the Madonna, I found the first photograph and thought it bore an uncanny resemblance to the ancient scene. Such are the workings of the collective unconscious.   This second photo is an ancient chalk drawing from the 16th century, which despite its years and pale color, I found quite warm and inviting.  Mary looks tenderly at the infant in her lap and one of the Magi almost appears to be kissing the feet of the infant. Such singular devotion refreshes the heart and the soul. At Christmastide, and in the coming year be refreshed and loved. I pray this for all children as well, particularly for those who have little, not even a roof to cover their sweet heads.

The following is a video by Sungha Jung playing Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring, arranged by Windham Hill. He is only a child of 9 in this video. You may adore his fine performance. Enjoy the music baby Jesus!


  1. There is so much I love in your post. I adore the photo - I've never seen it before. The mother and child, facing one another, with such love written upon the mother's face. The cat looking on, aloof yet proprietary. The warmth of that simple room, even in tones of black and gray.

    And "The Gift of the Magi" is one of my favorite stories, too! That beginning always makes me smile.

    I agree with you about the chalk drawing (and am amazed to read it's a chalk drawing!) It is very warm and inviting. And I once played, "Jesu" on my oboe for a Christmas concert. So lovely.

    And thanks so much for your comments on my "thankful" post. You are an encourager! As regards thankfulness, I've read that too, about thanks engendering a biological response. Isn't it funny how so many of the things God wants us to do turn out to be physically as well as spiritually good for us? I am trying to learn to be more aware of the good, even on the bad days. Not always successful, but trying...

    I hope today is a better day for us both!

  2. Brilliant playing by Sungha Jung, you must be very proud of him :)

  3. ahhhhh beauty.

    thank you for this peace.


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