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The Nativity Icon: Treasuring these things and Pondering in our Hearts

The Nativity Icon: Treasuring these things and Pondering in our Hearts

17th January 2024



“Icons are doorways into stillness, into closeness with God.”

Anam Cara community

After the busyness of the Christmas period, we invite you to come and spend a day gazing at and praying with this richly detailed icon of the Nativity. Icon is simply the Greek word for image, but sacred icons are more than a work of art and have been called “windows on Heaven”. Icons have been used for centuries in the Eastern Orthodox church as a form of prayer. Sacred icons depict Jesus, Mary, his mother or one of the saints and they invite the viewer to communicate with the person or event depicted in the image in a prayerful way.

The most wise Lord comes to be born,Receiving hospitality from His own creatures. Let us also receive Him”

Eastern Orthodox Hymn

“God willed Himself to be born as a little child.”

Orthodox hymn

During this retreat day, we will spend some time studying and praying with the Nativity Icon and pondering like Mary all the different elements and characters involved in the birth of The Messiah into our broken world.

We will offer some background to this icon –how to ‘read’ it, what is the significance of the postures of the different characters and the symbolism behind the different elements and the colours used in the icon.

We will introduce the practice of Visio Divina or ‘sacred looking’ and have time for contemplation in front of the icon. There will be time in the day for personal prayer and time in the art room to creatively express your response to the icon or to walk around the beautiful grounds of The Bield and ponder on the wonder and meaning of Nativity of Jesus at the start of this new year.

“Icons touch a completely different interior level, something below the hectic arena of thought and emotion. They are companions in prayer.”


Louise Younger

The Nativity Icon: Treasuring these things and Pondering in our Hearts

Louise has a ministry in spiritual accompaniment, and leading people in various meditative activities. She has always been drawn to icons, being a visual, creative person and finds them a powerful aid to prayer. She is keen to encourage others to understand icons better and to share her passion for them.

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