In him was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it notJohn 1:4-5 (KJV)

Happy Boxing Day to those celebrating it, and to those rushing out to the sales, please shop wisely. 

Here in the mousehole, we’re on Day 2 of Christmas. We always keep a few presents aside to unwrap whilst we prepare leftovers. Here is a little history of Boxing Day, which until the Great War (1914-1918) was a time for servants to have the day off.  Their employers boxed Christmas gifts for them as well as for the tradespeople with whom they did business.  The holiday has been celebrated since mediaeval times, not only in Britain and the Commonwealth but Germany and Greenland, too. Today is also the feast of St Stephen, the first Christian martyr.

Today’s painting is ‘The Nativity’ by Federico Barocci (Baroccio), who was born in the first half of the 16th century and died in 1612. He painted ‘The Nativity’ in 1597. I found this thanks to The Four Mass’keteers.  Mary looks resplendent in delicate pink and gold against the humble background of the manger.  And look at the Babe, so perfect!  Note how the light plays on them both whilst Joseph eagerly points the way.    

Barocci was commissioned by Pope Pius IV to help decorate one of the Vatican properties, the Belvedere Palace in Rome.  You can read more about him here.