by Rosemarie Adcock
“Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:1-7
In this depiction of the birth of Jesus Christ we see the Holy Family surrounded by animals one might find in a barn. The infant Jesus touches the extended finger of Joseph reminiscent of God extending His finger to Adam in the Sistine Chapel depiction of the Creation. The donkey is depicted as a symbol of Jesus one day entering Jerusalem on a foal of a donkey. The white horse is a depiction of His eventual return as it is described in the Book of Revelation. Joseph and Mary are painted in royal robes as the parents of a King, though in reality they were extremely poor. Jesus, who was born into poverty, was another illustration of the Apostle Paul’s writing:
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11
Jesus the Messiah’s miraculous birth was foretold by prophets for generations before His birth. In the Book of Isaiah, He is called Immanuel, God with us, and the reason we celebrate God’s miraculous gift of His own Son at Christmas every year.
The Nativity received 3rd place at the Sacred & Liturgical Arts Exhibition, Springfield IL