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The Stained Glass Windows of Saint Mark

The Nativity

“And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger” Luke 2:16

Samuel Francis Boykin, 1874-1953
Anne Alexander Boykin, 1879

The account of the visit of the shepherds to the Christ Child is given only in the Gospel according to Saint Luke (2:15-20). Although the shepherds “found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger,” the artist here depicts the Virgin Mother presenting the Child, his arms raised in blessing, to the world.

A principal artistic feature is the use of light, which appears to emanate from the Child, and from the lamp held aloft by Joseph, to illuminate the faces of the participants. One of the three shepherds, who are depicted to represent the three ages of man, is carrying a shepherd’s crook, which precursed Jesus’ pastoral concern and was to become the crozier, symbol of episcopal responsibility in the Church. Standing nearby are the ox, ass, and lamb, representing the lowliest of creatures which were present when Christ was born and recognized him to be the Son of God. In the sky appear the Star of the East and eleven other stars, perhaps suggestive of the eleven disciples who formed the nucleus of the Church. An excellent blue glass, regarded by many glassmakers as the most difficult color to create successfully, is prominent in this window. The robes of the figures range from the earthen colors of the shepherds’ garments to the star-flecked swaddling clothes and the deep blue of the Madonna’s robe. Blue, the traditional color of the Virgin Mary, represents heavenly love and the unveiling of truth.

The medallion at the top of the window is an angel holding a banner which bears the phrase “Glory to God."

This window was dedicated on Sunday, January 26, 1956.

Samuel Francis Boykin was born on June 15, 1874, and came to Atlanta in 1894. He married Anne Alexander in April, 1899, and became a member of Merritts Avenue Methodist Church on Easter Sunday, 1900. Soon thereafter he was made a steward and served continuously in that capacity until he moved to Wilmington, Delaware, to live. He never removed his membership from Saint Mark Church. Mr. Boykin was a member of the Building Committee which guided the construction of the new church at Peachtree and Fifth Street. Upon relocation the church changed its name from Merritts Avenue to Saint Mark. He was Chairman of the Official Board for a number of years and was also a Trustee and Sunday School Superintendent. He was a Trustee of Emory University, Martha Berry Schools, and Young Harris College. Mr. Boykin died on July 26, 1953.

Mrs. Anne Alexander Boykin was President of the Woman’s Society of Christian Service and a very active member of the church. Whenever someone could not do something, she could and was willing. Her mother, Mrs. Alexander, was also a member of the church and is described as a “wonderful and attractive” person.