One of the memories of my childhood that warms my heart the most is that of my parents being affectionate with each other. Sometimes it was romantic, sometimes it wasn’t, but just the sight of them being loving to each other created such a sense of safety, protection, and joy in our home.
The Holy Family must have experienced so many of these moments. I think it’s especially beautiful because their family wasn’t formed in a normal way–Joseph didn’t father Jesus, but he stepped into the role of being his earthly father anyway. What a great act of love! The intentionality of it always warms my heart. The way he took Mary in even in the face of scandal. The selflessness of his love toward his family is absolutely beautiful.
Recently I started to imagine moments of pure affection that must have taken place in the home of the Holy Family, moments similar to those whose memories I cherish from my own childhood home. How Joseph loved his family in his home. How he loved and protected Mary and Jesus. And how Jesus would have delighted in seeing Joseph love Mary.
Note: I feel a great sense of calling to create art for an ecumenical audience. Christians of all denominations have so much in common! We have almost every belief to mutually delight in. That said, I personally am Catholic, and Catholic Tradition holds that Mary remained a virgin always. This painting is not intended to hint at anything to the contrary–it simply portrays familial affection that is core to a healthy and holy family.