Advent to Epiphany: From Generation to Generation…

Excerpted from A Sanctified Art:

The stories, scriptures, and traditions of the Christmas season have been passed down throughout the generations. Many of us enter this season with a swell of memories and emotions. Like a tapestry woven throughout time, the Christmas story weaves us in—to remember how God has shown up in the past, to continue the work of collective liberation, to behold the presence of God in flesh and bone.

Our Advent theme is also a call to action: what are we being called to generate or bring forth? What have your ancestors and those who have come before you passed on for you to continue? Considering the many ways we embody, remember, and tell the story of Christ’s birth, which rituals hold the most meaning for you? What about this season will you pass on to the next generation?

From Generation to Generation... reminds us of the ways our lives, histories, actions, and stories are interconnected and woven together. The work of God is always unfolding— in and through us. This Advent season, how will we carry it forth?

Scripture-Based Art

From the artists: While we hope viewers develop their own interpretations of the art we create, we offer these artist statements as theological reflections on our process creating these works. Download the From Generation to Generation... artists' statements (pdf).

Artwork: Genealogy of Christ by Rev. Lauren Wright Pittman. Image used with permission by from the From Generation to Generation collection


From Generation to Generation... There's room for every story


Genealogy of Christ

By Rev. Lauren Wright Pittman

Inspired by Matthew 1:1-17 | A Sanctified Art LLC

Digital painting

While creating this image, I spent a lot of time with the women mentioned in Jesus’ genealogy because I had a resounding echo of shame in my body that I had received from engaging with these narratives in my childhood. Their stories held a heaviness of judgment. In my experience, it seemed the primary function of recounting their lives was to show how broken and sinful they were, and how, despite their brokenness, God was merciful enough to use them.

The shame I felt was also personal; along the way, I had internalized the message that as a woman, this was my potential for being a part of God’s story too. I had been handed some harmful, one-dimensional labels that immediately surfaced when I read their names, such as “harlot,” “prostitute,” “seductress,” and “adulterer,” just to name a few.

Their importance was not found in the context and particularity of their narratives; instead, they were viewed as rough, oddly-shaped pieces to the puzzle of Jesus’ lineage. I had to do some work to unbind myself from the limitations my church had placed on these stories, and I tried to visit these women with a fresh mind and an open heart. What I realized was that these women—despite the loathsome, corrupt systems they were in—found a way to claim their voice and found enough power to survive.

I was inspired by the composition and movement of the From Generation to Generation… logo. In this image, I chose to represent Christ using a rose at the center of the composition. The women mentioned in the genealogy are imaged as foundational leaves building and upholding Christ. All of the women are looking at the viewer and holding objects to represent the fact that they took their life and survival into their own hands. They were catalysts who propelled the lineage forward.

In the bottom left, Tamar holds her father-in-law’s insignia, which represents how she assumes his role as the leader of the tribe of Judah and continues its lineage.1 Moving counterclockwise, Rahab holds the red cord which she lowered to ensure the safety of her family after supplying Israelite spies enough information to achieve victory in Jericho. Next, Ruth holds the wheat that she gleaned from the field. She knows that she must marry again in order to be protected, and so she takes initiative with Boaz.

Bathesheba’s name isn’t even mentioned in Christ’s genealogy; she is referred to as the “wife of Uriah.” She withstands abuse from King David, survives the murder of her husband, and ensures that her son Solomon takes the throne. She takes matters into her own hands, becoming, as scholar Dr. Wil Gafney writes, “the queen mother of the united monarchy of Israel.”2 Finally, there is Mary who looks adoringly at the rose which represents her son. Here she holds the love and pride of a beautiful lineage that leads to the birth of her son, the Messiah.

These women only wanted to ensure safety for themselves and for their children; in the process they ensured the continuation of the lineage of Christ. Without their brilliance, passion, ingenuity, resourcefulness, creativity, and sacrifice, the lineage would have ended.

-Rev. Lauren Wright Pittman

1 Attridge, Harold W. From the footnote for Genesis 38:15-19. The HarperCollins Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (San Francisco, CA: Zondervan, 2006). 62-3.

2 Gafney, Wilda C. Womanist Midrash: A Reintroduction to the Women of the Torah and the Throne. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2017). 220.


From Generation to Generation... God meets us in our fear


Mary's Golden Annunciation

By Carmelle Beaugelin

Inspired by Luke 1:26-38 | A Sanctified Art LLC

Acrylic, gilding paint, canvas collage on handmade reclaimed paper

Mary's Golden Annunciation explores the moment of encounter between Mary and the angelic messenger. This unusual encounter may have been startling to young Mary—a soon-to-be teen bride turned, possibly, unwed mother. Yet, with holy bravery in the face of communal isolation, she accepts the call to be a surrogate mother to a son who is to be the savior of her people and the son of God.

There is not much commentary regarding Mary's consent to motherhood. She is often portrayed as a humble, yet passive, "accepter" of a fate predestined for her. But I wonder, what if the angel had appeared to Mary and she had declined? Would her name be erased from historic and religious memory in favor of another willing young virgin?

Mary's Golden Annunciation depicts not only a remarkable encounter, but also the moment that divinity in human form was conceived. It is my speculation that the divinity of God entered Mary's body no sooner than Mary's "yes" went out from her mouth. In a time when women had few options other than marriage, Mary's consent to a potentially unwed motherhood is a brave act of subversive agency. In Mary's "yes," uttered in her Magnificat, we see the transformation of a young teenage girl from fearful to determined, from simply accepting to deciding, from passivity to agency, from betrothed to surrogate mother of God—an honor rarer than gold. Perhaps the most remarkable annunciation in this passage is not the messenger’s revelation to Mary, but Mary's "yes" to the call.

-Carmelle Beaugelin

Artwork: Mary's Golden Annunciation by Carmelle Beaugelin. Image used with permission by from the From Generation to Generation collection
Artwork: The Courageous Choice by Rev. Lisle Gwynn Garrity. Image used with permission by from the From Generation to Generation collection


From Generation to Generation... We can choose a better way


The Courageous Choice

By Rev. Lisle Gwynn Garrity

Inspired by Matthew 1:18-25 | A Sanctified Art LLC

Silk painting with digital drawing and collage

When Joseph learns that his engagement has turned into a scandal, he decides to dismiss Mary quietly. While this choice may seem like a compassionate one, it's also a passive choice, one with little cost to Joseph but great consequences for Mary. As an unmarried mother, she and her child would be incredibly vulnerable, shunned by society, perhaps cut off from family support and resources. This choice means Joseph's reputation remains unharmed while pregnant Mary will live on with mounting shame and threats cast upon her.

While Joseph is thinking about all of this, perhaps deliberating about how he will delicately manage the social perceptions of this unexpected turn in his life, an angel comes to him in his dreams. What I find most interesting is that the angel doesn't command Joseph; instead he simply says, "Don't be afraid." He essentially says: "Don’t be afraid of the social stigma. Don't be afraid to become a parent through adoption. Don't be afraid to experience a love greater than you have ever known. Don't be afraid to make the courageous choice, the one that will not only change your life, but the lives of Mary and Jesus and so many generations who will come after you."

In this image, I've captured Joseph in the liminal space where his dreams will soon shape his reality. He rests his head on a folded blanket, which represents the woven tapestry of his ancestors who also made difficult choices for good. Gold interconnecting lines, like the roots and branches of a family tree, envelop him, symbolizing the beautiful web of regeneration that will come from his courage.

As we reflect on the Christmas story through Joseph's experience, may we, too, have the courage to choose a better way.

-Rev. Lisle Gwynn Garrity


From Generation to Generation... We see God in each other


The Golden Cradle

By Carmelle Beaugelin

Inspired by Luke 1:39-45; 56-58 | A Sanctified Art LLC

Acrylic, gilding paint, canvas collage on handmade reclaimed paper

Mary and Elizabeth have found in each other a sisterhood amid their precarious and unusual circumstances. An older Elizabeth (perhaps losing hope of ever nursing a child at the loss of her monthly cycle) welcomes a young Mary (pledged to be wed at the first sign of her cycle, yet seemingly pregnant before she has even wed). Despite their difference in age, the two cousins find comfort in each other in the midst of the unconventional timing of their expanding families. All along, as the two women whisper together of the growing promises hidden in their wombs and unconventional lives, Mary and Elizabeth themselves are cradled by the guiding arms of the God who moves them beyond cousins into sisterhood.

Reminiscent of Haitian folk art figures, Mary and Elizabeth are portrayed wearing traditional Afro-Caribbean style headdresses as their silhouettes face one another in a stoic greeting. For new Haitian mothers, a tradition of preparing sacred tea leaves, as well as postpartum herbal baths, offers solidarity between the more seasoned women and a new mother. Often—as displayed by the relationship between the two women in this story—grandmothers, cousins, and other close female community members act as surrogates in this sacred practice for those who have been displaced from their own families.

The Golden Cradle expands on the imagery of Mary's golden "yes" to her call, meeting Elizabeth's "yes" to a holy birth of her own. In their meeting, the promises they carry leap for joy at this first encounter, offering us a picture of the kind of communal solidarity we often find along the journey of the unfolding story of God in our own lives. Even in moments of isolation, we often encounter surrogates who step in with divine provision when we need it the most.

-Carmelle Beaugelin

Artwork: The Golden Cradle by Carmelle Beaugelin. Image used with permission by from the From Generation to Generation collection
Artwork: How God Shows Up by Rev. Lisle Gwynn Garrity. Image used with permission by from the From Generation to Generation collection


From Generation to Generation... We tell this story


How God Shows Up

By Rev. Lisle Gwynn Garrity

Inspired by Luke 2:1-20 | A Sanctified Art LLC

Silk painting with digital drawing and collage

This year, I come to this story with deep reverence for the complexity and beauty of childbirth. At the time of creating this art, I am about 6 weeks away from giving birth to my first child—who will be born in the same hospital where my mom died from cancer 20 years ago. My daughter will take her first breath in the same place where I heard my mother's last exhale. Much of my pregnancy has been a journey of healing—of inviting joy into the house where my grief lives, of preparing to become a mother as a motherless child. The more I learn of others' experiences around birth, I realize how closely joy and grief can coexist in each of our stories.3

And so, as I return to Jesus' birth story, my imagination leads me to wonder about how Mary experienced both grief and joy. Apart from Elizabeth, did she have support throughout her pregnancy? Was her own mother involved? Did she have generational trauma she needed to grieve? Did the stress of their travels to Bethlehem cause her labor to happen sooner than expected? As she labored, did a midwife come? Was she afraid?

In this image, as if looking past a curtain, we peer into this threshold moment when excruciating pain gives way to ecstatic joy as Mary draws her baby to her chest and he takes his first breath. As Mary holds her baby, additional hands reach in to support them both. Maybe these are the hands of strangers, of Joseph, or of a midwife who was summoned. Perhaps they are simply the hands of angels.

Each year, we tell this story because it is raw with joy, pain, and the complexities of being human. No matter how your story is unfolding, may you find that this sacred story holds space for you. For this is how God shows up—in a child who cries, in hands that hold, in human flesh, in life and in death.

-Rev. Lisle Gwynn Garrity

3 If you have pain, grief, trauma, or longing related to pregnancy and childbirth, we hold space for you. In this Christmas season, may God meet you in grief and joy and every moment in between.


From Generation to Generation... God dwells with us


Through Him, All Things

By Rev. Lauren Wright Pittman

Inspired by John 1:1-14 | A Sanctified Art LLC

Block print with oil-based ink over gouache painting

In John's cosmic, mysterious creation narrative, the description of the "Word" that particularly sparked my imagination was in verses 3 and 4: "All things came into being through him... in him was life, and the life was the light of all people." How does one image a concept so abstract and consequential to the Christian tradition? I find myself asking this question a lot. The words of the text themselves stretch to their limits while attempting to encapsulate the breadth of who Jesus is.

As I considered visual metaphors that might illuminate this text, I thought about a prism.4 I remember the first time I used this seemingly magical, transparent stone. I held it to the light, which I could not see, and to my surprise the light was broken down into the vibrant colors of a rainbow. It was natural for me to think the stone was creating something that wasn't there, but this medium revealed the complex truth that light is in fact made up of all the colors in existence.

In my image, Jesus is a prism. The light that is life that comes from the Creator shines through Jesus, and it is through him that we can see the fullness and beauty of who God is. It is through him that all of Creation came into being. I decided to paint the colors of the rainbow in the order I learned as a child: ROYGBIV.5 It was when picking paints that I realized there are seven colors in a simplified rainbow, and there are also seven days of Creation. In this block carving, each of the days of Creation is referenced through simplified patterning in each of the colors of the rainbow. It is through Christ that all things came into being, and it is through him that we experience the abounding saturation of God, who chose to dwell among us.

-Rev. Lauren Wright Pittman

4 I realized when creating this image that I was subconsciously inspired by an image by iconographer Kelly Latimore called "Christ the Light." In Latimore's image, Jesus is the light, and the Holy Spirit is the prism. I'm grateful for his influence and hope you will also check out his work:

5 An acronym for the order of hues in the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

Artwork: Through Him, All Things by Rev. Lauren Wright Pittman. Image used with permission by from the From Generation to Generation collection
Artwork: Wilderness Blossom by Rev. Lauren Wright Pittman. Image used with permission by from the From Generation to Generation collection

JAN. 1, 2023, NEW YEAR'S DAY

From Generation to Generation... (Advent 3) We can choose a better way


Wilderness Blossom

By Rev. Lauren Wright Pittman

Inspired by Isaiah 35:1-10 | A Sanctified Art LLC

Digital painting

Hope is difficult to come by these days; the wilderness seems to expand toward the horizon with no end in sight. "The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing" (Isaiah 35: 1-2). How does one cling to the nonexistent, vibrant purple petals of a crocus flower as they crouch in a barren, dusty wasteland? How does one reach for the cool relief of clear springs in a parched haunt of jackals?

Have you ever looked through a kaleidoscope? A kaleidoscope doesn't expose your eye to anything that isn't there. It takes what is in view, and with light and mirrors, creates a new, dynamic, luminous image. The overlapping, novel perspectives, light, and movement transform mundane and even unappealing subjects into vibrantly dancing masterpieces. Now, how does this relate to this text? I think it's possible that when we face difficult seasons that seem unending, if we immerse ourselves in the light of the voices of prophets, move to a new vantage point, and try new perspectives, we just might be able to see the wilderness bloom.

In this image I chose a few of the many vivid visuals from the text and created a kaleidoscope of sorts. Starting in the center, crocuses bloom, weak hands are strengthened, eyes are opened, bodies leap with joy, burning sand becomes a pool, swamps are formed, and the light of gladness radiates from the entire composition.

We need prophecies like this. Please don't get me wrong; there are certainly seasons of disappointment, devastation, and grief in this life, but we need not make our homes there. We could choose to shy away from such optimism during particularly difficult times while getting endlessly lost and settled into apathy and despair. Or, we could choose a better way, and hold fast to the stories of the joy that is to come.

-Rev. Lauren Wright Pittman


From Generation to Generation... We keep seeking


The Golden Pilgrimage

By Carmelle Beaugelin

Inspired by Matthew 2:1-12 | A Sanctified Art LLC

Acrylic, gilding paint, canvas collage on handmade reclaimed paper

Imagine the whispers in the town of Bethlehem. The relatives of Mary and Joseph, curious about the absence of the soon to be young mother, grateful to have a sense of distance from the silent scandal of an unwed wife and a man who remains with her in her apparent dishonor. Members of the community whispering of Herod's increasing anxiety over the birth of one of their own. Those learned in the ways of the stars gazing up to search the dark skies for a prominent golden orb, over which the elders have been speculating.

The Feast of the Epiphany celebrates the pilgrimage of three distinguished individuals to the newborn revelation of God revealed in the Christ child. Whether there were only three wise men, or kings, or Magi does not matter. However many of them made the harrowing pilgrimage to the newborn Jesus, they were most likely foreigners and outsiders.

Often the community we begin a journey with is not the same community that supports us throughout our journey's length. The Golden Pilgrimage depicts the kind of surrogacy that occurs when a friend, a sibling, a neighbor, a father, or a pastor steps in as a much-needed friend. Even in the story of our Savior's birth, it is not a matter of whether blood is thicker than water. Instead, what matters are the bonds that tie a community together when love and acceptance flow like the healing frankincense and myrrh of the gift-bearers.

-Carmelle Beaugelin

Artwork: The Golden Pilgrimage by Carmelle Beaugelin. Image used with permission by from the From Generation to Generation collection
Artwork: Flight to Egypt by Rev. Lauren Wright Pittman. Image used with permission by from the From Generation to Generation collection


From Generation to Generation... We keep seeking


Flight to Egypt

By Rev. Lauren Wright Pittman

Inspired by Matthew 2:13-23 | A Sanctified Art LLC

Digital painting

Our ancestors forge pathways that become a part of who we are. It is difficult to break those patterns, even if you aren't keenly aware of them. In this context, one of the most defining ancestral narratives of an Israelite's life would be the Exodus narrative. Joseph is advised to move in direct opposition to the way his ancestors moved. He must go toward Egypt instead of away. It takes great courage to consider the ingrained patterns of your history and blaze a new trail.

Joseph must uproot his family from their home to ensure their son will become who he was made to be. In this image, the Holy Family escapes the wrath of Herod in Bethlehem and faithfully travels toward the looming unknown in Egypt. They are flanked by flowers: on the left are Star of Bethlehem flowers and on the right are stylized lotus flowers you might see in Egyptian art.

In the background are shadowy figures. On the left, they represent Herod's men seeking to kill Jesus, and on the right, they represent the weight of the past—God's enslaved people and their oppressors. The menacing silhouettes surround the family, personifying the inherent risk in either path they choose to take. The angel of God envelops the Holy Family in an embrace, comforting them from the grief of leaving home and shielding them from the fear of what is to come.

In other icons of this pilgrimage, the Nile River often flows below, teeming with fish, but I chose to fill the water with lotus flowers, Egypt's national flower and a symbol of regeneration. God is writing a new story, transforming their destination, which swells with generational trauma and pain, into a haven of refuge and rebirth.

-Rev. Lauren Wright Pittman