Read the Good News in our windows

All of the windows at Christ Church Emery Down were designed by William Butterfield (1814-1900); they were made by Ward & Hughes of Frith Street, Soho and installed into the church between 1864 and 1869.  They were designed to convey the Good News of Jesus Christ.  (All of our windows have been photographed by and © Paul Trend 2009.)

The NativityThe Birth of Jesus

Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus are depicted in a stable – the thatched roof can be seen in the background – with shepherds gathered around them.  A gold and white nimbus signifies Jesus’ divinity whilst a red nimbus indicates Mary’s mortality.  There is a lamb in front of the manger or feed-trough in which baby Jesus is lying; the lamb symbolises John the Baptist’s declaration “There is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” when he sees Jesus for the first time (John 1: 29-30).

Context (Luke 2: 4-20)

Before Jesus was born the Emperor ordered a census throughout the Roman Empire.  Joseph was descended from the House of David and Bethlehem was King David’s birthplace, so that is where Joseph had to take Mary in order to comply with the census.  Whilst they were there Mary gave birth to Jesus.  This was to fulfil the prophecy that the Messiah would be born of David’s line (Isaiah 11: 1-14; Isaiah 16: 5) in Bethlehem (Micah 5: 1-3).  Luke’s Gospel contrasts the arrival of John the Baptist whose father, Zechariah, was a priest in the Temple, with the lowly, rural setting of Jesus’ arrival – in a stable because there was no room in the Inn.  Yet whilst Zechariah sings the prophecy of John’s life and purpose (Luke 1: 67-79) in the Temple an host of angels announce Jesus’ birth to shepherds and tells them where to go to find him.


To be written by home group.

Baptism of ChristThe Baptism of Jesus

Two figures are depicted: John the Baptist is dressed in brown and appears to be a larger and older figure with a longer beard than that of Jesus who is dressed all in white and hides his modesty with his arms in a pose reminiscent of how a corpse is laid out in death – with arms crossed over the chest – perhaps to signify what the future holds for him.  John’s stick with its crossed end also echoes the crucifixion.  A gold and white nimbus shows Jesus’ divinity whilst a red nimbus suggests John’s mortality.  Jesus’ feet are shown to be in the river Jordan and John is holding a utensil with water in it over Jesus’ head ready to baptise him.  This is the moment before the heavens open, the dove descends and we hear God’s voice.

Context (Matthew 3: 1-17)

John has begun his ministry calling people to confess their sins ‘because the Kingdom of Heaven is near!’  John lives like a man of the desert and forages for food.  People came to be baptised in the river Jordan by him from all over the country and John told them to prepare for the coming of the Lord.  John recognises that Jesus is the one he has been sent to prepare the way for and humbly says that Jesus should baptise him; but Jesus says that this is how God wishes it to be as his time has not yet come, so John baptises him.  As he does so the heavens open, a dove descends (the symbol of the Holy Spirit) and God’s voice is heard acknowledging that Jesus is his son and that he is pleased with him.  Jesus’ ministry begins after his baptism.


To be written by home group.

Wedding at CanaThe Wedding at Cana

This window depicts Jesus’ first miracle when He turns water into wine.  Jesus wears a purple cloak with a gold border, lined in blue to show His divinity (also symbolised by a gold and white nimbus).  The bride wears a light blue robe, and her white veil is attached with a headdress of flowers.  Her groom wears a red robe and one hand is raised.  Under Jesus’ instruction a servant pours water into one of four jars.


John’s gospel starts by identifying Jesus as the Word by which God created everything.  John the Baptist foretells Jesus’ arrival and identifies Him; then Jesus chooses the first four of His twelve disciples.  Chapter 2 describes the beginning of Jesus’ ministry and seven special signs or miracles of which The Wedding at Cana is the first (John 2: 1-11).


To be written by home group.

Jesus and the Samaritan WomanI that speak unto thee am He

‘I that speak unto thee am He’ (John 4: 26).  A modern day translation of this verse is ‘I am He, I who am talking with you’.

Jesus speaks with the woman of Samaria at Jacob’s Well and declares that He is the Messiah.  Jesus’ divinity is symbolised by His dark blue robe and halo.  The meeting place reminds us that Jews and Samaritans share Jacob as an ancestor despite their separateness in Jesus’ time.


John 4: 1-26 depicts a meeting where Jesus overrides social and religious mores to give a message of hope and freedom.  Jesus uses his physical thirst for water to engage the Samaritan woman, showing his divine nature, and explaining how he can satisfy her spiritual thirst.


To be written by home group.


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