Old friends from my first parish sent a card showing a detail of this wonderful painting titled: Virgin Mary and Child with Saint John the Baptist and Angels, by Francois Boucher, 1703-1770.
Heaven has opened and animated angels admire the Child Christ who is still wrapped in his swaddling clothes. Sometimes artists have a hard time accepting the humility and simplicity of Bethlehem-Mary and so they dress her up in fine fabrics. We get a glimpse of this in the intensity of color in Mary's mantle which has fallen down over her shoulders and the sheen of her dress. In the ancient world only royal persons wore colors; everyone else wore gray, brown or black.
Cousin John stands nearby with a lamb. He seems to have already learned that in Christ's presence, we pray. There's a basket behind Mary, the contents of which seem to have been opened already, but a cluster of grapes lies next to it. Grapes of course, are a symbol of the Eucharist, and that in order for the grapes to produce wine, they must be crushed. In all the Infancy story we are given insights and openings to the Passion story at the other end of the Gospel.
But it is New Year's Day and the Church celebrates the Motherhood of Mary - Mother of Jesus Christ who is God with a human face like our own. And to celebrate the feast day, here is a lovely rendition of The Seven Rejoices of Mary, sung by Loreena McKennitt.
Loreena's singing is clear, still, the lyrics of the carol (though a little fuzzy) are printed on the screen. The sixth rejoice of Mary is seeing her son bear the crucifix. An alternate version which says, rise from the crucifix, might be the better wording, if for no other reason than it announces Christ's Easter Resurrection.