“The Nativity”, Lorenzo Monaco; 1409
First published December 27th, 2006
Why lies he in such mean estate, where ox and ass are feeding? —What Child Is This?, Christmas Carol
NO retinue of guards. No legion of angels. Not even the welcome mat of the High Priests. God, incarnate in the flesh, is greeted into the world by an ox and ass.
While the early Fathers interpreted these two creatures as symbolic of the Jews and pagans, and thus all of humanity, a further interpretation came to mind at Midnight Mass.