A Christmas Family Home Evening Idea- The Red Headed Hostess


Last year some young women in my ward gave my husband and I a wonderful DVD titled “Oh Holy Night“.  It turned out to be an amazing gift.  It is part of what is called the “Son of Man Project” – a collection of art, music, and writings about Christ by Liz Lemon Swindle, Kenneth Cope, and Susan Easton Black.  After we received the gift my husband and I sat down to watch it, and it ended up being such a sweet experience for us that we ended up watching it again with each of our families for Christmas.

This DVD is only one song – so just a few minutes, and as it plays, there is a slideshow of paintings by Liz Lemon Swindle about Christ.  But we didn’t just watch it.  My husband had this amazing idea – and this is what made the experience so sweet.

  • First:  We watched it all the way through
  • Second:  We watched it a second time, and each person chose their very favorite painting
  • Third:  We played it again, and when our favorite painting came up, we pushed pause and explained why it was our favorite painting.  Everyone chose such different paintings for different reasons.  It really was a sweet, sweet experience.

This year the DVD they have released is the picture above – it goes with the song “Miracle From Heaven”, you can also see this at their website:  www.sonofmanproject.com

Or, you can see the “Oh Holy Night” song on You Tube.

*  To prepare your family for the video, and to get them to look at art a little closer, you could start with the activity below:

  • Find and display a print such as this one (This one is called “Silent Night” by Liz Lemon Swindle)

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  •   Have them  look and ponder about the painting.  You could ask them some of these questions, or others you think of,  and discover what insights your family has about this amazing event.
  1.  Where, specifically, are Mary and Joseph? (Did you know that stables were traditionally caves in the middle east?)
  2. What kind of concerns would any mother and father have as having this sort of place being a make-shift birthplace?  (Notice how the artist painted the surroundings)
  3. What had Mary just gone through the past 48 hours?
  4. What kind of physical and emotional struggles would she have experienced?
  5. What kind of concern and worry had Joseph experienced  during this time?
  6. What are some specific things he would have been worried or upset about?
  7. What could the red blanket on the ground represent?
  8. After everything they had been through, when you look at Mary and Joseph, what do you think they are experiencing in this moment?
  9. Who are they holding?  What do they know about him?
  10. Notice where the artist placed the light.  Why do you think she did this?
  11. Why do you think the artist painted the animals up close to, and facing the Christ Child?
  12. What kind of thoughts do you think are going through their mind?
  13. What kind of conversations do you think Mary and Joseph had had together anticipating this child?
  14. How do you think they are going to feel when shepherds suddenly arrive because an angel had appeared to them and told them to go, witness the birth, and then testify to the world that the Savior had just been born?
  15. From what you know of the story of Christ, what would you say to this young couple?

Or you could do a picture like this:Close this window

And ask them questions like this:

  1. Where is this painting taking place, and what is happening?
  2. What is Christ experiencing right now?
  3. What is the expression of Christ’s face showing?
  4. Look at his hands and the ground by them.  What is the artist trying to help us understand?
  5. Why is it dark all around him?  Why could it be symbolic?
  6. Why do you think the artist painted the trees all gnarly and like they are hovering over Christ?
  7. Why do you think the artist put Christ in white?
  8. Why do you think the artist covered the ground with flowers and grass?
  9. Why are there some red ones? (D&C 19:16-19)

* You may want to write down some of your family’s answers.  Testimonies are naturally shared in these types of moments, and what better to put in your family’s history, than that?

One comment

  1. Wow that is a powerful and beautiful song with the pictures!! I think these questions are very thought provoking. Im using them for my YW lesson. Thanks as always for your great and motivating ideas. You are the best anywhere!! Merry Christmas

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