Icons are revelation in pigment and paint. In front of the altar, usually on an iconostasis, which is the screen partition that unites the mystical heavenly (sanctuary or Holy of Holies) to the earthly (nave), you see two icons flanking the altar. The icon of Mary with the Child Jesus in her arms reminds us of the first coming of Jesus, the God-man. The icon of Jesus by Himself represents His Second Coming at the end of time. The altar beckons us to enter into Gods presence and to put aside all earthly distractions. Icons make us remember: not a passive recollection of a past person or event, but a remembrance that transforms. This is one of the foundation stones of Christian liturgy - that the remembrance makes present the reality.