Nativity fresco (detail), Saint George's Church

Collection: Folklife Collections, Provinical Museum of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. Edmonton.
Photograph: David J. Goa, 1995.

This icon of the Nativity of Our Lord is drawn from Byzantine models. It depicts the Christ child - the incarnation of God and the fulness of the human nature - with his mother in a cave, the most ancient image of the stable of his birth. The vaulted mountains, an ancient Byzantine motif, express the joy of the cosmos at its restoration. In one narrative we have the washing of the infant Jesus. In the other depicts the Temptation of Saint Joseph. Some interpretations suggest the old man is Satan tempting Joseph to question the paternity of the child while others see this as an elder helping Joseph understand the miracle at hand.