At the holy season of his birth, our minds are turned to Christ presence that we might draw him closer to us in a personal and transformative way. We feel him in our hearts, and want to know him better. We are used to understanding people as we look at their faces. So what did Jesus look like? In art history around the world, all cultures portray Jesus differently. In the Orient, mosaics of him show him with upward slanted eyes and black hair. In the West, sometimes we see him as blonde and blue eyed. One of the Catholic mystics, Catherine Emmerick, who herself received the Stigmata (like St. Francis of Assisi - which confirms her deep, close relationship with Christ) - said that he had 'blonde' hair in her first Volume about his life and teachings. Another mystic, saint who saw Christ in Visions said the artist's Hoffman painting of Christ (the one often found in churches) is the closest portrayal to his face. What can we see in his facial features from that painting? The magnificent, compassionate eye texture in this paiting reveal depth of holiness and Divine Love for all. His hair is curly and dark; his eye color brown, as might have who was born in Israel. His face is radiant and loving, and for ages other artists have conveyed the same holiness - Rembradt, Titian, Raphael. The face shape is long, but not too narrow. This is the shape of a teacher and guide. The forehead is high, which conveys depth of wisdom. The mouth area is soft and full, which is kindness and affectionate.
What a great personal witness the paiting Hoffman gave us in the beautiful face of Christ. Full of Divine Love and Blessings for the world.
May your own holiday season be filled with this Divine Love, whether you are Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Islamic, or following another spiritual way.