This 15th century icon portrays the nativity in the flesh of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. Visible in the icon, from the top, are the Star of Bethlehem (portrayed as the Holy Spirit), the angels, Magi, and a shepherd, Saint Joseph being tempted by the Devil (portrayed as an old man), and two women bathing the newborn Christ (testifying to His humanity). In the center is the cave, where rests the Theotokos with Christ lying in the manger.
As in all icons, the Child is portrayed as a miniature adult, pointing to the Son of God's agelessness. He is wrapped in strips of cloth, which double as swaddling clothes and grave clothes. His presence in a cave, or could we say, tomb completes the image: Jesus came to earth ultimately to submit to death and break its hold on humanity.
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