The Nave Windows


The Adoration of the Shepherds

Photography by Bill Blanchard

The mystery of the Incarnation began with the Annunciation of the Lord's coming and the response of Mary in loving obedience (Luke 1: 26-38). This was a favorite scene of artists in every age, but in the Seton Hall Chapel the artist begins with the Birth of Jesus. The first scene is the "Adoration of the Shepherds" (Luke 2: 8-20). The divine Infant, resting on a white embroidered cloth, gently held by Mary, raises his hand in blessing.


Wheat stalks in and under the manger, as well as thatching for the roof, draw our attention to Bethlehem ("House of Bread" in Hebrew) and Christ's wish to become for us the Bread of Life. The lamb trussed at the feet of the shepherds may point our thoughts to the Lamb of God, who is the Servant of the Lord. "Like a lamb that is led to he opened not his mouth" (Isaiah 53: 7). One of the shepherds carries a lamb on his shoulder, perhaps a reminder of the "Good Shepherd" (John 10: 1-21).


Mary is dressed in the royal blue of the House of David. Joseph looks over her. The ox looking upon the scene has made room for his creator (see Isaiah 1: 3), more alert to his presence than many of us.


In the quatrefoil above, the brilliant star shining upon the manger points the way for the wise from among the nations to find the Son of God (Matthew 2: 1-12).


Below the picture, in each lancet, the artist has placed a pomegranate. The pomegranate is a red fruit with many seeds. It is found in abundance in the Holy Land and neighboring countries. Because of its many seeds it was a symbol for fertility and unity within diversity in creation. In Christian symbolism, it stands for the boundless love of God.



The scroll at the base is obscured by aluminum framing added in an unfortunate restoration attempt. It indicates that the window was "Donated by the Alumni."