From as early on as I can remember, in my childhood, I had an illustrated children’s Bible. The pages were filled with colorful images depicting the most famous Bible stories — Noah and the ark, Jonah and the whale, Jesus in the manger. I remember especially the images of Jesus as an adult. He wore and white robe with a red stole across His chest; He had dark brown hair and olive-colored skin; and His face always shone with bright eyes and a warm, welcoming smile. This was a Jesus my young self was interested in and excited to know. I wanted His eyes and His smile to point to me, radiating with the love that spilled over from His heart.
I was fortunate enough while growing up to have an image of Jesus that was actually pretty accurate — warm, gentle, even Middle Eastern — and this image helped me to grow in my faith in and love for the Lord. However, I also encountered a lot of images of Jesus while growing up that were less accurate, less helpful for prayer and worship, and sometimes straight up phony.