The Nativity of our
Lord God and Savior
Jesus Christ

Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, was born of the Most Holy Virgin Mary in the city of Bethlehem during the reign of the emperor Augustus (Octavian) (Luke 2: 1-20).

Having given birth to the Divine Infant without travail, the Most Holy Virgin “wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger” (Luke 2:7). In the stillness of midnight (Wisdom of Solomon 18:14-15), the proclamation of the birth of the Savior of the world was heard by three shepherds watching their flocks by night.

The child-Christ and His mother are shown in a cave, surrounded by impossibly sharp, inhospitable, rocks which reflect the cruel world into which Jesus was born. The Gospels record that Joseph and Mary could not find a room at any inn when they came to take part in the census at Bethlehem, and so Jesus was laid in a manger, an animal’s feeding trough. Common to the time, animals were not sheltered in wooden barns, but in caves and recesses in the hills, and so this “stable” is shown in the Icon.

High in the skies is a star which sends down a single shaft towards the baby Jesus. This star is being followed by the Magi, the wise Persians from the East, who are bearing gifts to the Christ. On the right, the shepherds – people not regarded by anyone else – are the first to be given the Good News of Jesus’ birth. The shepherds are seen praising and offering veneration to the Christ-Child.

O Most Holy Trinity, Our God, Glory to Thee!