I want so much for our home to be Christ-centered.  I’m so grateful for how the gospel gives so many ideas to make that happen (family scriptures, family prayer, Family Home Evening, church services, etc.).  Aside from the practices we do as a family to remind us to put Christ in the center of our lives, I want to add more visual reminders around our home. So I’ve been thinking of a good way to bring Christ into our home.

Because let’s face it, we could all use more reminders about “soft answers” and patience to bring the spirit into our homes…or is that just me??

I have talked a lot about my deliberations about what we put on our walls:

As far as religious things, we have our picture of the temple, but only a single, small painting of Christ.

And I’ve wanted to change that for a while.

A good way to bring Christ into our Home

Growing up, my parents had multiple framed pictures of Christ that we had hanging in our bedrooms.  On Fast Sundays we would bring them all to the dinner table and switch around who got which painting hanging in their bedroom.  Their theory on this was that switching things up made us notice them more.

And they were right.

My thoughts on Christ were renewed each month as I glanced at a different depiction of Him in my comings and goings from my bedroom.

All these years later I still remember that and have had a goal to incorporate that tradition into our family.

Yeah, it’s been a goal for about five years.

That’s how behind I am.

But now that we’re going back home for a new year I’m thinking it’s the perfect time to put my plan into action.  I’m going to give each of my children (and Dave and me too) a picture of Christ to hang on their bedroom walls for Christmas and we will switch them around every so often. (Kids, if you are reading this, please pretend that you didn’t 🙂

I am super particular about art, especially religious art.  I don’t want to hang the same pictures I have seen so many times.  I would love to find some really unique and different paintings/prints.  I know everyone has their own taste and it’s kind of a personal thing.  I want my kids to have their own input on this, but I want to gather options for them.  If I just say “go pick out your favorite picture of Christ” the world of options is too big and they’re too overwhelmed (I know because I’ve already tried that!).

Favorite paintings of Jesus

I’d love any input from anyone out there who may have seen any really unique paintings of Christ to help narrow my search.

Some that I have found that I love so far:

Minerva Teichert is one of my favorite painters.  I love that her paintings leave a lot to the imagination and they are so beautiful.

I’ve mentioned before how much I love my friend Rose Dall’s art.

I love that that’s such a unique one, and oh my word it is so breathtakingly beautiful to me.

I adore this painting of the nativity by Brian Kershisnik so much.  
I could go on for a long time about how all those swarms of angels speak to me in so many ways.

This old-school one is probably my very favorite of Christ with children:

I think about it every time I try to get in gear more with my “holiness in mothering” ideas inspired by my friend.  Whenever I’m frustrated with my kids I try to get on their level, cup their cheeks in my hands. Just like in that picture. And try to see them how Christ must see them.

A little more difficult with Max who towers over me. But even picturing this picture makes my will so much more malleable as to attending to their needs and hopes and dreams in a Christ-like way.

This one doesn’t really fit with the others, but there’s something joyous and so beautiful about it that draws me in and makes me so happy.

Letting Christ into our lives

I believe with all my heart that Christ wants to be part of our lives.  I love Cheiko Okazaki’s story I shared and think about it so often.  But sometimes we all could use more visual reminders to help us keep our focus on what’s most important in life.  And it all stems from letting Christ in more readily on even our smallest daily tasks.
How I hope my children will internalize that and find as much joy as I have in striving for it. And how I hope that as we add more pictures/paintings to our walls our little family will “let Him in” more abundantly, especially this Christmas season.
If anyone has any recommendations of links or ideas where I can find more unique depictions of Christ, please send them on over. Because I want to act on this good way to bring Christ into our home.
Thank you!
Love, Shawni

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  1. For Christmas a few years ago, we bought a beautiful custom framed picture of Christ and the rich young ruler by Heinrich Hoffman- my favorite. I love the story behind it. I love that it is a reminder to give and serve. I love that it helps me discover things that get in my way of having a greater relationship with my Savior-not necessarily related to money. I know I have seen paper prints at the distribution center, and we ordered our canvas from Desert Book. Another idea!

  2. This post is so timely for me today! We just moved into a house from an apartment and I have yet to hang anything on the walls…I've also been wanting to find art depicting Christ, but something unique. That is a wonderful idea to give art to my children (and myself?) as a Christmas gift! I just started searching on Etsy and came across this beautiful print, not sure if it's your style but thought I would share — https://www.etsy.com/listing/203318505/rescue-of-the-lost-lamb?ref=shop_home_active_1

  3. I noticed in all the depictions of Jesus, he appears Caucasian. I am not trying to be disrespectful or challenge your faith, I'm just curious and trying to learn more about your religion. Is it generally accepted in the LDS faith that Jesus was white? If not, I wonder if you could find any beautiful art that depicts him in a more diverse fashion… I assume there must be some out there…

    1. Jill, we know he wasn't caucasian, but I guess lots of cultures portray Christ similar to themselves (I've seen nativities with all colors of skin and different facial characteristics from all around the world). Many of the paintings we love in the LDS church weren't even painted by mormons, such as Carl Bloch's Christ Healing the Sick at the Pool of Bethesda (one of my favorites). Personally, I love religious art from a variety of religions and cultures, it gives me new insights and strengthens my testimony that He really is the Savior of the world!

  4. The last supper is a tradition to have near an eating area of the house like the kitchen or dining room. Catholics focus a lot on the passion and the sacraments. There should be plenty of art related to those things in circulation.

  5. A few years ago I was asked to a do a life of Christ room for our stake's nativity exhibit. I loved it so much that I replicated it on one of the walls of my home. I am always on the lookout for good pictures of Christ. My current favorite artists are J.kirk Richards and Rose Dall. Since you know Rose you should commission her to do something original for you. The art director at the Deseret Book in downtown SLC is great and has been a good resource for me. I always stop in when I'm in SLC to see what she has–there are a lot of originals in her store. I have the Minerva Teichert you posted leaning against my wall, ready to be hung.

  6. What a great idea, and I have the perfect contact for you! My dad (Scott Higginson) owns an online art gallery and has wonderful relationships with Rose Datoc Dall, Brian Kershisnik, and many other fabulous artists (religious and non-religious). Check out his website at http://www.foursquareart.com and send him a message through the "contact" tab. He lives in Mesa, and I know he would LOVE to talk to you about this project. He would have some awesome suggestions for you, even if he doesn't have anything in his gallery that you're interested in. I'm pretty sure he still has some prints of Kershisnik's nativity available in a variety of sizes. As a side note — I think my parents knew your parents when they lived in VA.

  7. This is such an outstanding idea and is yet another that I'll be bringing into our home!
    Here are the images that I am planning to order (my eye leans more toward the traditional, but I love seeing the different styles that speak to each person's heart!):

    There is something so unbelievably tender about Christ finding comfort in the arms of an angel:

    And oh how often I find myself as Martha and need this gentle reminder to be Mary to the people in my life:

    There is something so very humanizing of this image of Christ in prayer:

  8. Christ and the Young Child by Carl Bloch. Also by Bloch "Christ with Children". And perhaps my new favorite, "Agony in the Garden" by Franz Scwartz. All three of these were part of the "Sacred Gifts" exhibit at BYU this last year.

  9. I'm an Orthodox Christian. You might google image- resurrection icon. There are many beautiful, historical, and symbolic images to choose from. Orthodox families traditionally have an icon in every room and an icon corner at which the family gathers or one can spend time in alone. Images of Christ truly bless a home! I love the idea of rotating them through the children's rooms. I may do that myself!

  10. Nothing comes to mind but I had to comment how much I LOOOOVE the one you shared of Christ with the Children. I had it as an 10 piece, 8×11 size puzzle when I was little and it might be the most nostalgic item I know of. I always wanted to be that little girl he's looking at. 🙂
    And maybe that picture is why I do that too- try to hold their sweet, and stubborn faces when I want them to know I love them, but that I'm serious about whatever it is I'm trying to help them change.

  11. Christcenteredart.com is a terrific website. My favorite artists (and their work is available from this website) are Liz Lemon Swindle and Morgan Weistling. They both have so many fabulous paintings, it would be hard to choose a favorite. (Although Swindle's "Be It Unto Me" and Weistling's "Walking With God" are two of my favorites!). Great project.

  12. The seconds to last one (the "old school" one) is what I had in my room growing up and it is still an absolute favorite. It also reminds me of one of my favorite parts in the Book of Mormon (3 nephi 17) where Christ blesses each child individually. Such a great reminder- as it shows him looking into Their faces, their eyes even. He knows each and every one of us individually and loves us unconditionally.

  13. Wasn't Jesus a Jewish guy from the Middle East? Why in all of these "unique and different" renderings does he look like the big brother of Taylor Swift or something? Perhaps a holdover from the atrocious racism in the LDS church's not do distant pass?

    1. I think in many cultures and religions, people depict what they see as God or Christ in what they are used to and what they would would imagine. Having Christ have lighter colored skin isn't racist at all. It is what you would imagine. None of us were alive at the time of Christ. We do know he was Jewish. But what actual coloring he may or may not have had, really isn't known. It is also missing the point. It's more about about the life he lived and how it blesses our lives today. Whatever color of skin he may have had doesn't add or takeaway from His teachings, His love, His sacrifice. I hope that everyone can look beyond the color of the skin in the pictures and look at more of the feeling and the message that they pictures portray. That is what is important about Christ in those pictures.

    2. I'd like to respectfully add my thoughts here… I asked a similar question above and would like to share my rationale. I agree with you about seeing beyond Jesus' color and looking at the message instead. I've had race issues heavy on my mind lately as a born-and-raised St Louisan (living elsewhere now) and the daughter of a St Louis County police officer. I've learned so much in the past few weeks from the perspective of many black people in our country, and I've found myself wondering how I can make it easier for my kids to get to know and LOVE people of different races. I think diverse imagery of Jesus could potentially be one way to help some white kids feel more connected to kids from other races (just speculating here, I don't have any studies to support that theory). It also might make Jesus seem more accessible to kids who aren't white. Just my thoughts. 🙂

    3. I agree. There isn't anything wrong with that. Being diverse though is also being accepting that others might like Jesus being portrayed in a way that they are familiar with and not what necessarily others are. For me, focusing more on the message of Christ would be the best place to start. Showing more love, showing more forgiveness, showing more compassion, being slow, very slow to judge and assume the worst in others. Look past the mark and straight to the heart.

    4. I think the way Jesus LOOKS in these paintings is key here because this is a post about the visual representation of him. Am I correct in understanding that Jesus is understood to be a physical personification of God here on earth? If yes, then having that personification be exclusively white (as he is depicted in all of the images featured abouve) is sending a pretty powerful message to the children Shawni is working hard to influence here.

  14. I totally agree Jenny. It's not really racist to portray Jesus as fair skinned with Caucasian features – it's just another example of not seeing past your own front door in Shawni's case.

    1. I respectfully disagree. How is viewing Christ as fair skinned not being able to see past your own front door? Again, it doesn't matter the color of a persons skin in matters the integrity, virtue and life that person has lived. Most people that I know view life from their own experiences. Saying that Shawni (who has traveled the world way more than I have or most people that I know) is narrow minded as far as how she views things, is clearly misguided. She has seen way more in her life already, than most of us hope to see in an entire lifetime. Liking certain paintings of Christ that portray Him as fair skinned isn't close minded in the least. Also insinuating that someone who does view Christ as fair skinned as racist or close minded, is being that yourself. Be open to other possibility's. If I die and find out that Christ has waaaay darker skin than I ever imagined, I won't be shocked or disappointed. Because hopefully, by that time, I will have learned of His teachings and tried to live by His example, so much so, that I will "know" Him because of His countenance. Be kind in your thoughts, try not to judge and assume what others feel or think. Liking something a certain way doesn't make you anything at all, just a person who likes things a certain way.

  15. sbu – I don't think Shawni is narrow minded at all, or racist. I think, despite her being so well-traveled – she is extremely culturally challenged. The recent China vacation is a glaring example. She is taking her kids to all these places – which is great – but her comments are "oh, look at the tiny Chinese smiley man" or "look at the cute little pink ladies rooms" – I think we all get the point.

    Also, Shawni's main mantra is "keeping it real" – Jesus was a middle-eastern Jew – as was brought out before. So how "real" is it to hang white pictures of him around your house?

  16. In my opinion it's very real to hang pictures of Christ portrayed in any color you like. It's not about the picture anyway, it's about Him. Truly, it's about Him. I have been to Israel, I know what middle eastern Jews look like. For the record there are many different shades of brown of middle eastern Jews. That really is beside the point. Keeping things "real" has nothing to do with what color Jesus was, at least to me. Keeping things real is more about real life experiences, feelings, how react and act in certain situations. Christ is about His message, His teachings, His sacrifice, His love for ALL mankind. His grace, His kindness, His Atonement, His forgiveness. Why focus on making certain that everyone does things in the way that you think they should be done? Why not be accepting of all people and cultures, and how they view things? Jesus doesn't mean any more or any less to me if you view Him darker than I do, does it? Christ lived His life so we would all be like Him, loving, forgiving, accepting, tolerant. I am grateful that we can all view Christ and His life in the ways that help us be more like Him.

  17. Also, I read Shawni's blog because I enjoy her outlook on life. You have mentioned that she is not real, I would say she is. Have you ever noticed how she responds to you and others who can say such unkind and judgmental things about her and to her? I certainly have, I know that others on this blog have because of what they have said in regards to that. She has tried to see your point of view, commented on what you have said that is helpful and even thanked you for your comments. All the while looking past the snarkyness, judgments and accusations. I don't know her, I don't need to know her. I can see she is trying her best to be like Christ. To love and to accept and to show the compassion and understanding that we all crave. I don't agree with all that she writes. I don't agree with all of her philosophies on life either. But I can appreciate her point of view and look past what I don't agree with and learn from that and somehow make my life better because of her and others that I associate with. That is why being accepting and tolerant of others wanting to hang portraits of Christ in their own home of whatever color of skin they choose, is alright, more than alright. The fact that they are hanging a portrait of Christ at all is the amazing thing. The fact that they want their children to emulate His life in any way is the point. That is the message in this post. Being like Christ.

  18. Love this post. I tried to respond earlier but my post isn't showing up so I'm trying again! I have to say, I enjoy the conversation as well. I do think that there is a "traditional" way that Jesus has been depicted and I am not at all certain that it is terribly inaccurate. This traditional Jesus looks a lot like many of the Jewish men I have known in my life. I have a Master's degree in Ancient History and I can say that the appearance of Jesus Christ is pretty hotly debated in scholarly circles. Some scholars do feel that Jesus looked more "Middle Eastern" than most of the historic (European) depictions. However, I just have to mention that Middle Easterners are considered "Caucasian" in the circles that still widely categorize race like forensic anthropologists. I'm just saying this because the term has come up a few times in these comments. I think what I like best about the conversation is the idea that one of the most timely, most needed aspects of life that would be best helped by wisdom of Jesus' teachings might be the mending of race relations. Artwork that speaks to THAT might be really amazing. There are bible stories where Jesus reached out to groups that might be considered "others" among his contemporaries. It is obvious his love knew no bounds and certainly wasn't confined to a certain appearance of people. In sum, I'm all for ALL images of Christ. I think the beautiful European images of the Middle Ages are not without merit. Shawni, I'd love to hear your thoughts. I find you to be very open, thoughtful and real and that is SO refreshing!

  19. To begin, I definitely support the right of any family to hang any art they choose within their own homes. I'm going to put a couple more thoughts out there. I feel like some of us are talking about a larger issue, a real problem that is happening in our country RIGHT NOW. This blog has taught me so much, so I know this is a group of people willing to have respectful and productive discussion for the sake of creating a better world for our families (and all families, because what could be more Christ-like?).

    I have learned so much from dialogue about Ferguson in the past few weeks. I have learned that, even though some white people might not share this perception, there are quite a few black people in our country who perceive a disparity between their lived experience and the lived experience of their white counterparts. I'm not talking about anyone on this blog, but in other conversations I see white people respond by digging in their heels and saying "I don't see color" and maintaining all races are equal in our country… Instead of hearing the voices of many black people saying "We are not equal an we'll keep protesting until someone acknowledges that!" (As an aside, what is wrong with seeing color? What's wrong with celebrating our differences?)

    I have been reading everything I can and trying to determine in anyone has solutions for facilitating a bridge in racial communications in our country; so far everything I see is primarily emotion-driven and not solution-driven. So I defaulted to a great quote by Sandra Day O'Connor: "The family unit plays a critical role in our society and in the training of the generation to come." That leads me to the conclusion that one thing I can do is raise my kids to know and love people from as many different backgrounds as possible. Raise them to respect contributions made by people of all different appearances. Maybe to some people, Jesus' color isn't a big deal because the crux of the matter is what Jesus represents. I think it IS a big deal. I think that, by hanging pictures of European (thanks for the correction about "Caucasian," Jolie Fleur, that's one of the new things I've learned today!) Jesus in my home, I'm clearly telling my kids that one of the most influential figures in history (arguably THE most influential figure in history) looked a certain way, even though I know that probably isn't true. Why should I portray him as white? So my white kids can identify with Jesus more easily? To me, the task at hand seems to be helping them identify with people who don't look like them by saying "You know Jesus? The one you've learned so much about, sing songs about, love so much? His skin was darker than ours." It could be THE CONDUIT for teaching kids that it is ok to love people who don't look like them.

    Just some thoughts I wanted to share because I know the readers of this blog are primarily moms… And I can't imagine any more powerful group in the world than a group of mothers actively trying to make the world a brighter place for future generations.

  20. It was wonderful to have so much art lining churches, before the invention of the printing press it was used as a teaching tool. Art is also an expression of the artist and their using their given gift.

    I find it curious you are putting images of jesus and temples in every bedroom. Lesson four in the missionary manual would have catholic investigators remove such art and objects from the home. They erroneously think the objects turn into deities at some point. They are merely tools like CTR rings, pictures of Christ you have your house. Surely you pray even if the picture of Christ happens to be in the room. Your temples and the font inside the temple is ornate. You bring your children to touch the temple so it transforms them in some way. How is that different than touching a rosary to keep track of our fathers and hail Mary's and the mysteries, prayers taken from scripture while meditating on the life of Christ: presentation in the temple, the crucifiction..? Your wards chapels are specificly bare so not to imitate Catholicism. If you can see clearly your homes and temples have such art and objects inside them without it being idolatry why is your church so assuming of our use of them? You are deifying saints and Our Lady in a way Catholics never would. You are confused when we ask for a saint to pray for something we would also ask of a neighbor. The saint is a brother or sister even though dead no less a member of the community. They can also pray to God even though they are dead. Yet you actually have more interaction with the dead with sealings by proxy and such. It's very curious how a church trying hard not to look catholic has so much in common.

  21. I recently bought a print from one of my favorite artists Jenedy Paige. The print is of the Christ child but I LOVE it! Her website is jenedypaigepaintings.blogspot.com the print I bought was Little Lamb. I also want to have pictures do Christ in my home. Thank you for sharing what your parents did switching up the portraits of Christ. Great idea

  22. You know what Shawni, YOU KEEP ON DOING YOUR THING. This is Christmas, and I dont know about the rest of the readers here, but I think that Christ should pull us all together and stop us leaving mean comments on perfectly wonderful posts. Christ expects better of us. I don't think it matters what race someone is, Christ taught us that we are all equal in his sight.

  23. I never leave comments but amen Jessica Wilson!! This is Shawni's blog and she can write what she wants to. If you don't like what she has to say then quit reading her blog and move on. The fact that people purposely take time out of their day to write something unkind is beyond me. I'm all for having open discussions but my mother also taught me that if you can't say something nice, don't say it at all!

  24. Shawni, one of my all-time favorite paintings of the Savior is actually by my husband's cousin called "My Savior, My Friend." (This is NOT a plug for a family member–the painting is truly touching.) Here is the link to the website, and right now this picture is actually the first one on the page. http://dixonleavittart.blogspot.com/
    Merry Christmas!

  25. Such a great idea! I'd never thought of this before. I don't know if this comment will get lost among the many. But tonight I found a new picture that I imagine you'd love. there is a little history about it here: http://www.jenedypaige.com/gallery/little-lamb/
    and you can purchase prints here: http://www.jenedypaige.com/little-lamb-prints-available/ ($15-30)
    This is a picture of the Savior as a baby and as the artist explains, she researched Jewish history to learn what swaddling clothes and mangers likely looked like. Christmas picture, but a non-traditional one. I found it tonight thanks to facebook, but I love it!

  26. I'm here to give another plug for Dixon Leavitt, and I'm so happy to see that I'm not the first! I actually bought four of his prints of "My Savior, My Friend" for Christmas presents to those I love this year. I am eagerly anticipating seeing their faces when they open their presents and see Dixon's depiction of our Savior.

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