Monk Michael of Athos painted this icon in 1982. The Star that leads the Three Holy Kings, as seen to the left of the Virgin, illuminates where the young Child was, while above the Kings the angels look with wonder. To the right, another angel is instructing a shepherd to come and see this most blessed moment in all of history: God is being born as a human being with all of our frailties except sin.
Inside the rocks is the cave where Christ was born, still visible beneath the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem even today. The Lord is laid in a manger in the wall of the cave where animals had been sheltered in times past. They, too, look on with wonder. The Virgin is kneeling in adoration and love at this most special Son in Whose Image and Likeness we too were made. St. Joseph is kneeling here as well and offering up his praise, while another shepherd sits with his pipe in his hand and his sheep laying down before the Cave. If seen clearly, the center of Time, which looked before this event in anticipation, and which looks afterwards in respect, occurs just at this moment of God’s Incarnation.
Sizes are approximate