My favorite nativity painting is this piece by Piero della Francesca. It was completed around 1483, long after the larger inventory of the artist's catalog. It is painted with oils on a panel of wood and, like Piero's other works, it shows the artist's meticulous attention to perspective and composition. The painting is currently on display at the National Gallery in London but many believe the artist intended to have it hang in his family chapel near his tomb.
I love every part of this painting: the singing angels, the silent magpie, the fragile child, the contemplative virgin, the pensive ox, the storytelling shepherds—even the strangely casual portrait of Joseph who nonchalantly crosses his legs as he rests on a saddle. But my favorite part of the painting is the jackass in the center. He was once just an ordinary jackass, but today, with exuberant joy and unexpected privilege, he sings with angels!
And I think of my own life. And I realize that I too am a jackass who, by the grace of God, gets to sing with angels. And I like that.
But Sunday morning becomes Monday. So what will I do with that song?