A Google search for “baby Jesus” highlights pretty quickly the issue children’s author Dorena Williamson aims to address with the publication of her book, Brown Baby Jesus. Going by the results presented by the world’s top search engine, one would be left to conclude that Jesus was White — and, of course, one would be wrong.
“We don’t have pictures of what he looked like, specifically. But when I’ve seen a lot of our current images of a blonde, very pale, blue-eyed Jesus, we know that that is certainly not historically accurate,” Williamson told Faithfully Magazine a few weeks before the book’s release.
Williamson, who is African American, is well aware of the baggage that comes with popular visual presentations of a White Jesus.
“So reimagining him as a Middle Eastern brown baby with bushy hair, my hope in doing that is really to say to people who look like you and I that we belong, that we are part of his story, and that Jesus is not just someone for White people,” she added.
Brown Baby Jesus is Williamson’s take on the most significant event in Christian history: the nativity.
There is no shortage of children’s books about the Christmas story, and many of them follow a rigid timeline of events to highlight the significance of Jesus’ birth. Here, also, Williamson takes a different approach.