The Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus in the Media


Both the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus are religious figures referenced in Christian literature as well as many other religions. Mary is the mother of Jesus and Jesus is the son of Mary. These two religious figures are commonly referenced in the media. They are often brought up to represent goodness, holiness, and power. There have been many jokes about the two made on tv shows, a lot of merchandise has been made featuring their faces, and there have been countless works of art created in honor of them. Due to Christianity being a very common world religion, the characteristics of Mary and Baby Jesus are widely known, making the tropes frequent in the media.


Consumer Product

Above: an image from the article “Blasphemous, appropriative, and wildly popular: the rise of the celebrity prayer candle” by Vox. The products shown are traditional prayer candles, a staple in Catholicism and New Age rituals, but instead of religious figures being pictured on them, the candles feature celebrity faces. The inclusion of celebrity face in place of religious figures on this consumer product is meant to make the celebrities seem like something that the consumer worships. This speaks a lot to celebrity culture, especially in the United States. The general public tends to put celebrities on a pedestal, and this product goes as far as to make them synonymous with God, which for some people is the most important thing.


Above: a comic posted on the website for purchase. The comic is titled “Jesus’ Childhood” and a joke is made about Mary yelling at Baby Jesus because he is getting the floor wet. The pun of this joke is that Jesus was walking on water, which is a commonly believed ability that he had. This use of the Baby Jesus/Virgin Mary trope is more straightforward than the previous ones that we have seen. The comic depicts the relationship between Baby Jesus and Mary as the typical dynamic between a mother and her young son; scolding him because he is making a mess in the house. Although in some ways this comic humanizes the two, the “walking on water” bit solidifies the fact that Baby Jesus is still seen as someone with unnatural abilities. 

TV Show Joke

Above: a screencap from the 24th episode of the second season of the hit sitcom Modern Family (medium = television). Here, the female character commonly pronounces “Baby Jesus” as “baby cheesus” which is a running joke on the show. Due to this, a miscommunication occurs between her and her secretary, resulting in mini figurines of Baby Jesus to be ordered instead of smaller-sized cheeses. This is a more comical take on the Baby Jesus trope. In many ways, Baby Jesus represents holiness and innocence. The innocence comes to play in this scene when Gloria is completely unaware that she is making a mistake in her pronunciation and is genuinely confused when the figurine shows up. The producers make the mistake cause her to appear more endearing. 


Fakes, N. (2014, September 30). Virgin Mary Cartoon. Retrieved from

Shrikant, A. (2019, May 3). Blasphemous, appropriative, and wildly popular: the rise of the celebrity prayer candle. Retrieved from

The One That Got Away, Modern Family. (2011, May 25). Retrieved from