Advent: 12 December

Tracy Niven
Tuesday 12 December 2023

Good morning,

Behind today’s window, as we reach the mid-point of the Advent Calendar, are an image and haiku on the birth of Jesus.  The image is an Orthodox icon of the Nativity, which I saw on the Greek island of Corfu in the Antivouniotissa Museum.

The icon tells the nativity story.  Mary worships her son Jesus who is laid in a manger, a feeding-trough, in a cave where animals including ox and ass feed.  The harsh, rocky landscape exemplifies the hardships faced in creation.  Above is a star, which the Magi, on the left, point to on their journey.  Shepherds, on the right, are hearing the news from an angel, while a large company of angels worship the child in the manger.  Orthodox tradition has two women helping with the birth, one a midwife.  They are depicted low down on the right with a basin of water.  Joseph, depicted as an old man, is low down on the left.  The white-garbed man with the red wings may be the angel telling Joseph in a dream to accept Mary as his wife, or indeed to flee with his new family to Egypt.

Such fragile cargo,
cord cut, limbs wrapped, baby laid
gently in sweet straw


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