His father, leaning on his protective staff, oversaw the scene. Shepherds bearing an angelic announcement, Eastern sages, kneeling with gifts, lowing cattle bowing their heads; all revering the maiden, nursing mother.
None observed the creeping, ever-lengthening shadow cast by the distant cross; empty and awaiting, one day, the body of the baby.
© 2021 PRA
Illustration: Adoration of the Shepherds, Caravaggio (1571-1610)