The Nativity Icon
As with many icons depicting events and saints in the Church, The Nativity Icon contains great meaning. In this icon, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary is the dominant figure, though not the most important one.
Next to the Theotokos lies the Christ child, swaddled in clothing that also resembles burial clothing which prefigures the end of His earthly life.
Beside the Child are an ox and donkey representing what was written in the Old Testament, “Hear O heavens, and listen, O earth. For the Lord has spoken: ‘I have begotten and brought up sons, but they rejected Me. The ox knows its owner and the donkey its master’s crib; but Israel does not know Me, and the people do not understand Me.'” (Isaiah 1:2-3).
From above shines the star which directed the Magi to His birthplace and on either side, Angels deliver the good news of His birth to the shepherds.
On the left the Magi arrive with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh which represent royalty, the priesthood, and Christ’s eventual burial.
On the right, the tree represents the Tree of Jesse, referring to the prophecy, “There shall come forth a rod from the root of Jesse, and a flower shall grow out of his root. The Spirit of God shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and godliness.” (Isaiah 11:1-2).
In the bottom left corner are midwives washing the Christ child, signifying his human birth.
And in the right corner sits Joseph the Betrothed, looking concerned and doubtful. Next to him stands an old man representing Satan who is sowing seeds of doubt in Joseph saying if the Infant were truly divine, He would not have been born in a human way.
The icon pictured above was written by the hand of Kh. Randa Azar.