REVEALING THE MEANING OF THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD THROUGH THE HYMNS OF OUR HOLY ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHURCH

My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,

CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.

REVEALING THE MEANING OF THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD
THROUGH THE HYMNS OF OUR HOLY ORTHODOX CHURCH.

KATAVASIAS OF CHRISTMAS

CHRIST IS BORN, glorify Him! Christ is come from heaven, go
and meet Him, Christ is on earth; arise to Him. Sing to the
Lord, all you who dwell on the earth; and in merry spirits, O
you peoples, praise His birth. For He is glorified.

To the Son, begotten without flux, of the Father, before the
ages, and Who was lately made Incarnate of the Virgin
without seed; to Christ God now let us cry aloud: You have
exalted the horn of our strength. Only You are Holy, O Lord.

Jesse’s root produced a branch, O Christ, and You its flower
blossomed forth, from the Virgin who by Habakkuk
prophetically once was called overshadowed dense mountain.
From her who knew not man You came Incarnate, the
immaterial God. Glory to Your power, O Lord.

God of peace and Father of mercies, Your Son You have sent
unto us as Your Messenger, the Angel of Great Counsel who is
granting peace. Therefore, having been guided to the Light of
godly knowledge, waking from the night to dawn, we sing Your
glory, O Lover of man.

Such as it received Jonah as an embryo, the sea beast
disgorged him from its bowels intact. With the Virgin,
though, when the Logos had dwelt in her taking on flesh,
He came forth from her preserving her yet incorrupt. For
from her no fluxion suffered He, and He kept her unaltered
in childbirth.

The Servants nurtured piously together, with contempt
regarding the impious king’s decree, intrepidly faced the threat
of holocaust, and while standing in the midst of flames they
chanted thus, saying: O God of the Fathers, You are blessed.

We praise and we bless and we worship the Lord.

Babylon’s bedewing furnaces bore the image of an
extraordinary wonder. For it did not burn the youths it
accepted, nor did the fire of Divinity consume the Virgin’s
womb wherein it went. So let us melodiously chant in
praise: Let all creation bless and extol the Lord, and let
it exalt Him supremely to the ages.

O my soul, magnify her who is greater in honor and in glory
than the armies of heaven.

I see here a strange and paradoxical mystery. For, behold, the
grotto is heaven; Cherubic Throne is the Virgin; the manger a
grand space in which Christ our God the uncontainable
reclined as a babe; Whom in extolling do we magnify.

Kontakion Hymn

On this day the Virgin Maid goes to the grotto to give birth
to the Pre-Eternal Logos (Word) in an ineffable manner.
Dance for joy, all the inhabited earth, on hearing. Glorify
along with Angels and with the shepherds Him Who willed
that He appear as a newborn Child, the Pre-Eternal God.

Vespers

When the Lord Jesus was born of the Holy Virgin, all the
the world was enlightened. The shepherds watched in the fields,
the Magi adorned and the Angels praised in song, but Herod
was troubled: for God has appeared in the flesh, the Savior
our souls.

Thy Kingdom, O Christ our God, is a Kingdom of all the
ages, and Thy rule is from generation to generation. Made
flesh of the Holy Spirit and made man of her Ever-Virgin
Mary, Thou hast enlightened us by Thy coming. Light of
Light, Brightness of the Father, Thou hast made the whole
creation shine with joy. All that hath breath praise Thee,
the Image of the Glory of the Father. O God Who art, and
Who hast ever been, Who hast shone forth from a Virgin,
have mercy upon us.

What shall we offer Thee, O Christ, Who for our sakes
hast appeared on earth as man? Every creature made by Thee
offers Thee thanks. The Angels offer Thee a hymn; the heavens
a star; the Magi, gifts; the shepherds, their wonder; the earth,
its cave; the wilderness, the manger: and we offer Thee a
Virgin Mother. O Pre-Eternal God, have mercy upon us.

Troparion of the Feast

Thy Nativity, O Christ our God, has shone upon the world
with the Light of Knowledge: for thereby they who adored
the stars through a Star were taught to worship Thee, the
Son of Righteousness, and to know Thee the Dayspring
from on High, O Lord, glory to Thee.

Kontakion Hymn

Today the Virgin gives birth to Him Who is above all
being, and the earth offers a cave to Him Whom no man
can approach. Angels with shepherds give glory, and Magi
journey with a Star. For unto us is born a young Child, the
Pre-Eternal God.

Orthros (Matins)

Come, O ye faithful, and let us behold where Christ is
born. Let us join the Magi, kings from the east, and follow
the guiding Star. Angels sing praises there without ceasing,
and shepherds abiding in the fields offer a fitting hymn, saying:
‘Glory in the highest to Him Who in the cave this day is born
of the Virgin and Theotokos, in Bethlehem of Judah.

Matins, Canticle Four

(Irmos) Rod of the root of Jesse, and flower that blossomed from
his stem, O Christ, Thou hast sprung from the Virgin. From the
Mountain overshadowed by the forest Thou hast come, made flesh

from her, that knew not wedlock, O God Who art not formed from
matter, Glory To Thy power, O Lord.

O Christ, Whom Jacob foretold in days of old, calling Thee the
Expectation of the nations. Thou hast shone forth from the Tribe
of Judah, and Thou hast come to plunder the strength of Damascus
and the spoils of Samaria, turning their error into faith beautiful to
God. Glory to Thy power, O Lord.

Please note: The texts express the genuine Orthodox Christian faith, doctrine, and mystical prayer. Our Holy Orthodox Christian Church uses both the iconography as well as hymnody not only to edify and inspire the faithful but to all also teach those present, our theology. We come to appreciate the musical heritage and Tradition of our Faith.

” Our Christian worship is essentially an ‘ENCOUNTER.’ Moreover, it is also a ‘dialogue.’ Ther are always two partners in worship. The worshipper is always expecting an answer, ‘Give ear, O Lord, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my suppliction. In the day of my trouble I will call upon Thee; for Thou wilt hear me. The initiative id divine. We call on God because He HAS CALLED US FIRST. Thus Orthodox Christian worship is A RESPONSE to the call or ‘challenge’ of God. We pray because the initiative has been taken by God, and we are made aware of that divine initiative through the testimony of Holy Scripture. We all on God Whom we are given to know–because He has revealed Himself through the ages, in special events, through special messengers, and finally in His Only-begotten Son, our Beloved Lord Christ Jesus…The Son of God came down to dwell among men for their salvation.

The starting point of Orthodox Christian worship is COMMEMORATION or REMEMBRANCE. The Christian Faith itself is primarily an obedient and grateful RECOGNITION of the Mighty and Saving deeds of God which culminate in the ‘coming down’ of the Son of God. God has acted, ONCE AND FOR ALL. Man now has to acknowledge God’s gracious action and to testify to His love and glory.

The historic character of Christian worship is clearly expressed in the structure of the Liturgical Year. From early times there was in the Church a YEARLY COMMEMORATION OF THE CRUCIAL Triduum–from the Cross to Resurrection–as well as a weekly commemoration of the Resurrection, on EACH ‘LORD’S DAY.’

Encounter and Dialogue

Worship is the norm of Christian existence. It should be the constant disposition or attitude of the Christian man. Indeed, to worship God means precisely TO BE AWARE OF HIS PRESENCE, TO DWELL CONSTANTLY IN THIS PRESENCE. It is through worship that the ‘new man’ is being formed in the believer, and the baptismal grace of adoption is actualized. The Christian person must be always in the state of worship, whether it is expressed in words or not. In its essence worship IS THE ORIENTATION OF MAN TOWARDS GOD, “into Thy hands I commend my spirit…”

Prayer is a bounden duty of believers. Faith and worship cannot be separated. But prayer is also a daring endeavour, inasmuch as it is also a spiritual urge of those who believe. One meets God always with awe and trembling, if also with love and adoration. In prayer one has to begin with an act of detachment— ‘to lay aside all the cares of this life.’ In no sense is this an easy task, especially when we want to present precisely these ‘cares’ –our troubles and needs–to Him, in search for help and illumination. That is why we are instructed to pray ‘in the closet,’ in retirement, in retreat from ‘the world.’ However, the walls of the chamber, the shut door, and any other external fences, cannot by themselves prevent distraction or dissipation. This can be achieved only by an intense internal effort, by steady and continuous training, by a total reorientation of one’s life. But detachment is not indifference. God Himself is not indifferent to man’s needs or ‘cares.’ [Source: The Festal Menaion)

__________

“Glory Be To GOD
For
All Things!”

– Saint John Chrysostomos

+ + +



With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George

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