The name of Jesus Christ and of the Virgin Mary are written above with the initials: (to our left looking at the icon) Mother of God (and to the right) Jesus Christ. These names tell us who should be the persons of reference in our family: Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary.
Jesus Christ is in the centre of the icon. He has to be in the centre of our family. He is on the shoulder of St. Joseph, to signify the importance of the authority of the father in the family. Many times the father is absent or too busy with his job and his role in the family is very weak. The authority of St. Joseph in the Holy Family is also visible in the strength with which he holds firm the legs of Jesus. The face of St. Joseph is the face of the “Man of the Holy Shroud”, the Servant of God who obeyed God the Father until death (Phil 2:8). Joseph obeyed God in accepting to form his family with Jesus, the Son of God, and the Virgin Mary (Mt 1:20) and in always following the will of God (Mt 2:13-14 and19-20). Jesus Christ “although he was Son, he learnt to obey through suffering” (Heb 5:8) and the obedience of St. Joseph was a strong example before him. In our family, the obedience of the parents to God is a precious witness of submission to the will of God for our children.
The Virgin Mary is looking to the left. Why? In the Gospel of St. Mathew, 25:31-66, Jesus places people on his right (those who took care of him when he was hungry, thirsty, a stranger, sick, in prison) and on his left those who didn’t. Those on his right receive eternal reward, the others, eternal punishment. The Virgin Mary is looking at those who are lost, as every mother in a family is worried when one of her children doesn’t behave well. The Virgin Mary is looking at us. She has a star on her front, another on her right shoulder (the third one – on her left shoulder – is hidden by the hand). These stars are the sign of the virginity of the Virgin Mary before, during and after the birth of Jesus Christ. She has in her hand the scroll of the Word of God. She has always been faithful to the will of God revealed in the Holy Scriptures. Mary and Joseph are the examples of obedience to the will of God. Her dress is blue and red. Blue means humanity. The Virgin Mary was a human being like us, she is not God. The same as the attire of St. Joseph. But the Virgin Mary has been covered by divinity (Lk 1:35), symbolised by the red dress. The attire of Jesus is only gold (another colour for divinity) because he is God. The hands of the Virgin Mary show that she is praying. The role of the Virgin Mary in the Church is to intercede continuously for us, she is our Mother! The Virgin Mary keeps in her right hand the scroll of the Bible and we can read the announcement of Jesus in Nazareth: “The Spirit of the Lord has been given to me... he has sent me” (Lk 4:18). This is the Holy Family: enlightened by the Holy Spirit, obedient to God the Father, with Jesus Christ in the middle, who has been sent to the world for our sake and our salvation. This is the example for our family: to be in communion with God the Father, with Jesus Christ and with the Holy Spirit; we also are sent to the world to announce the love of God for all mankind.