• Neil Allen

Fr Roten Blog #38: Israel/Palestine

A Staircase to Heaven

Issa Abu Aita (Israel/Bethlehem)

This artwork is more than a nativity set. It is a little synthesis of the Christian faith. Linking the Nativity with a monumental staircase to the Last Supper and the Eucharist, it highlights the lasting presence of Jesus Christ among us. We are reminded that the Incarnation would not have become reality without the Annunciation (upper right), and its meaning would not have been complete without Crucifixion and Redemption (upper left). The resurrecting and ascending Christ makes this artwork a promise of eternal life. All of the events depicted in this abbreviated diorama of Christian life remind us that there exists a staircase to Heaven. Together with the popular olive wood nativities, this mother of pearl creation is a traditional faith expression of Holy Land Christians. It shows that even among hardship and the struggle for survival, there exists the beauty of faith.

Reprinted with permission: University of Dayton - Marian Library Collection. All rights reserved.

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