Little children seem to have an inborn goodness; a simple faith and natural desire to be taught and to walk in His light. The light of Christ is given to each and it shines in their faces. It is a light that shines in a helpful conscience that teaches of right and wrong. It is a light that illuminates their path when the way grows dark. It is a light that warms their hearts and lets them know that they are loved and always in His sight. As is my practice, I used a model as a “starting point” for the figure of Jesus in this painting. (I have used a dozen different models over the years as inspiration for my representations of Jesus.) On this occasion I visualized Jesus with a young child. I wanted to show the love which Jesus has for us as children of God and also the love we have for him as our spiritual “elder brother.” I was in the studio with the man serving as my model. I had not yet found just the right model to portray the child but hoped that I could paint him in when I found him. So there I was with my model in costume and an “invisible” child at his side when a knock came at the studio door. I yelled, “Come in” and in walked my model’s wife and their young son. They had come to pay a visit and see just what we were up to. Spontaneously the little boy ran over to his father, leaned on his knee, looked up and asked, “Dad, what are you doing? Why are you all dressed up like that?” With love and patience this father put his arm around his son and began to explain the scene we were trying to create. In an instant I recognized the perfect model I had been looking for! The two of them had a love and rapport that would have been impossible to fabricate by bringing two strangers together. That little experience has been a tender reminder that each of us enjoys a familial relationship as children of God, our Heavenly Father and a kinship with our spiritual brother Jesus Christ.
by Greg Olsen