Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

The Devil in Nativity Scenes

The Devil conversing with St Joseph
in lower right corner of this Nativity scene

Still complaining about the "executioner" figure in the Vatican's current Nativity? Here's a bit of perspective on that. 

Note that in the lower right hand corner of this ancient Eastern icon of the Nativity is the Devil seen conversing with St Joseph. ("Oh, horrors! What is HE doing there?!! It's positively pagan!)

Well, I'll tell you what he's doing there as well as in the Vatican's Nativity and it isn't pagan at all.

Paul Evdokimov enlightens us: "St Joseph is sitting to the side, deep in thought. The tempter stands beside him, in the garments of a shepherd saying: An old man like you cannot beget children or a virgin give birth any more than this staff can burst into flower. The Eastern liturgy tells us that a storm of contradictory thoughts rages in St Joseph's heart, and he was perplexed, but enlightened by the Holy Spirit, he sang Alleluia!" 

In the figure of St Joseph, the icon portrays a constantly recurring theme - our own drama, our own doubts, our own temptations, the typical temptations of our own age which are the same temptation(s) as of old.

The Devil conversing with St Joseph in the lower left corner of this Nativity scene

The Devil conversing with St Joseph in the lower left corner of this Nativity scene

The Devil conversing with St Joseph in lower right corner of this Nativity scene

The Devil conversing with St Joseph in lower left corner of this Nativity scene


No comments: