It's the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception today! In celebration of Mary, we thought we'd take you for an inside look into this year's Catholic Christmas Cracker design...one centered around Mary!
Each year, we spend significant time creating and designing the Catholic Christmas Cracker artwork. We are no strangers to the fact that these crackers will grace the tables, St. Nick shoes, stockings, classroom parties, office parties, church parties, and family reunions....so, it has to mean something!
This year, we decided to honor Mother Mary! And boy do we think it's our best artwork yet!
Mary is a major part of our faith
This year's Catholic Christmas Crackers give a nod to Mary’s role in the Nativity – all you need to do is look to the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception to see just how special Mary is. Conceived without sin through the merits of her son, Mary was instrumental!
To show this, we used text from the Magnificat (or the Canticle of Mary) which Mary speaks during the Visitation when she is visited by Elizabeth, as seen in the Gospel of Luke (1:46–55).
And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed...”
The Theotókos and the burning bush
The reason why Mary was conceived without sin was through the merits of her Son. One title of Mary is the Theotókos or "the God-bearer." One beautiful way the Church Fathers have explained this concept is through the burning bush - checkout this quote from St. Gregory of Nyssa:
“What was prefigured at that time in the flame of the bush was openly manifested in the mystery of the Virgin, once an interval of time had passed. Just as on the mountain the bush burned but was not consumed, so also the Virgin gave birth to the light and was not corrupted...”
The final piece
There are many other elements, theological and otherwise, which impacted our artistic choices. For example, beautiful lilies were included, both as a nod toward Mary's purity and a significant representation of Joseph - the Foster Father of Jesus. Shepherds and other people were included faintly in the background as a nod toward the people brought together and saved by the Nativity.
The art, once finished, is breathtaking!
Finally, to finish the story, a Nativity medal, pointing toward Christ's birth, is affixed to each cracker and metallic silver ribbon ties it all together.
Turn your focus to Mary and the Holy Family this Christmas
Viewing Jesus’ Birth through the eyes of Mary is a beautiful way to prayerfully meditate on the Holy Family and Christmas – in fulfillment of the covenants, God sent his son through the Blessed Mother!