I find this particular icon of the nativity to be both moving and comforting.
Of course there are the angels, the shepherds on the top right, the Magi to the left. But it is the Virgin Mary who is unusual in this icon. She is looking not at her Child, (who is wrapped in burial clothes, prefiguring his sacrifice), but at St Joseph on the bottom left. Joseph is wrestling with his doubts about the significance of all this; he is goaded on by the devil who encourages his doubt.
People through the ages have found the Incarnation, the mystery that God became human which we celebrate in this Feast of Christmas, to be beyond reason and for many it is a doctrine too difficult to accept. Hence the presence of the midwives on the bottom right to affirm that Our Lord was truly born as a human being into this world; he needed washing, as any human baby would.
So this icon is for us.The Blessed Mother looks on St Joseph, as the Church looks on us, with understanding and patience, and invites us, in love, to believe.
The 14th century carol puts it thus:
"Joseph, Dearest Joseph mine,
Help me cradle the Child divine.
God reward thee and all that’s thine,
In paradise," so prays the mother Mary.
"Gladly, dear one, lady mine,Happy Christmas to all readers of Eurobishop!
Help I cradle this child of thine;
God's own light on us both shall shine
In paradise, As prays the mother Mary."