Giotto, The Nativity
“Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”
The master pre-Renaissance painter, Giotto (1267-1337), produced a remarkable series of paintings in Padua’s Scrovegni Chapel. One of the most memorable is this image of the Nativity of our Lord. Giotto’s paintings are noted for his sensitive portrayal of distinguishable human figures, moving away from the Byzantine style of icon-like painting characteristic of the era in which he began his work.
Some verses from Phillips Brooks’ beloved hymn (O Little Town of Bethlehem) provide a fitting prayer for this day:
How silently, how silently, The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts The blessings of his heaven…
O holy Child of Bethlehem, Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, Be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels The great glad tidings tell:
O come to us, abide with us, Our Lord Emmanuel!
May our Lord, who was and is, and is to come, bless us and our loved ones during this holy time.
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