THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD, GOD, AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST (Part II)

My beloved brothers and sisters in God Incarnate,

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

THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD, GOD, AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST (Part II)
Second Canon

(Orthros) The Nativity According to the Flesh

(Irmos) Of old the Master that works Wonders saved His
people,
Making the watery wave of the sea into dry land;
And now of His Own Will has He been born from
a Maiden,
And so He establishes a path for us whereby we
may mount to heaven.
We glorify Him Who in essence is equal to the
Father and to mortal men.
Plainly foreshadowed by the burning bush that
was not consumed,
A hallowed womb has borne the Logos/Word.
God is mingled with the form of mortal men,
And so He loses the unhappy womb of Eve from
the bitter curse of old.
We men give Him glory.
A Star showed plainly to the Magi
The Logos/Word that was before the sun, Who has come
to make transgressions cease.
They saw Thee wrapped in swaddling clothes,
within a poor and lowly cave,
Who shares all our sufferings,
And in joy, they gazed upon Thee, Who art at
once both man and Lord.

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Rising from sleep, Joseph did as the Angel of the Lord instructed him. He remained with his espoused wife, the Spotless Maiden who had dedicated her virginity to the Lord, Whose Mother she would become, having conceived the Savior of the world by the Holy Spir
In giving birth to God Incarnate, the Ever-virgin Mary dispensed with the usual assistance of a midwife, as Saint Athanasios the Great of Alexandria testifies in his explanation of these words from the Gospel: "And she brought forth her first-born Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger" (Luke, Ch. 2). The Saint writes, "Gaze upon the Virgin’s mystic childbearing, she gave birth and herself wrapped the Child in swaddling. Ordinary women give birth, and others wrap their offspring in swaddling clothes, but not so in the case of the Virgin. She gave birth and she wrapped her Son, being both a mother who knew not the pangs (pains) of childbirth and a nursemaid uninstructed in the care of infants. She permitted no unclean hands to touch her Most Pure Son, but herself provided for all His needs, swaddling Him and laying Him in a manger. Similarly, Saint Cyprian tells us, "She who bore her Son without suffering and had no need of a midwife’s assistance was, by God’s power, PRESERVED A VIRGIN DURING CHIDBIRTH AND THEREAFTER…

"Having wrapped her sweetest Son in clean, fine strips of linen brought from Nazareth, and having laid Him in a manger within the cave, the blameless Mother and Handmaiden of the newborn Child worshipped Him as God and Creator, of which the blessed Joseph the Hymnographer sings to the Immaculate One, "Holding God in thine arms and bowing before the Lord Incarnate, kissing maternally Him Who was clothed in human likeness, O Maiden, thou didst say, ‘O my Child Most Sweet, how is it that I hold Thee Who holdest all creation in Thy hand?" We know with certainty that as the divine Maiden fell prostrate before the Babe lying in the manger and worshipped Him, the Celestial Powers invisibly surrounded her, filled with amazement, for the Holy Orthodox Church proclaims, "The Angels encircled the manger as though it were the Throne of the Cherubim, regarding the cave as Heaven and gazing upon the Master, Who lay therein" (Ode 9 of the Three-canticled Canon for December 23)…

"Numerous trustworthy authorities assert that the Holy Nativity of Christ took place ON A SUNDAY, AT MIDNIGHT FOLLOWING SATURDAY’S END (According to the tradition of the ancient Jews and the Orthodox Church the new day begins AT THE SETTING OF THE SUN.) This is confirmed by the testimony of the Sixth Ecumenical Synod, which explains in this way our celebration of Sunday as the Holiest Day of the week. "On this day God CREATED LIGHT; on this day He RAINED MANNA FROM HEAVEN; on this day He was BAPTIZED BY SAINT JOHN IN THE JORDAN; on this day the Most Merciful Redeemer of the human race ROSE FROM THE DEAD FOR OUR SALVATION, on this day He POURED OUT THE HOLY SPIRIT UPON HIS DISCIPLES (PENTECOST)." It was on a Friday that the Annunciation occurred and the Lord was conceived in the Virgin’s womb, and on a Friday that He suffered; but Kyriake was the day of His Nativity and Resurrection. It was fitting that on the day created light appeared, the Light Eternal and Uncreated should be manifested to the world; that Christ should be born ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK, ON WHICH GOD SAID, "LET THERE BE LIGHT, AND THERE WAS LIGHT" (Genesis, Ch. 1). Regarding Christ’s Birth in the middle of the night, Solomon had prophesied: "When all wa encompassed by stillness, and night had reached its mid-point, Thine almighty Logos/Word descended out of heaven from amid the royal thrones to this land of destruction" (Wisdom of Solomon, Ch. 18).

Many astounding Marvels took place throughout the world on the night Christ was born. At the very moment our Lord passed through the sealed gates of the Virgin’s womb, a spring of water gushed out of the ground and ran into the river Tiber, and the heathen sanctuary known as the Eternal Temle crashed to the ground, destroying idols within. In the sky three suns appeared. That night in Spain a cloud shone brighter than the sun, and in Judea vines set fruit, thoug it was winter. The greatest miracle to occur, however, was recorded in the Gospel: Angels descended from Heaven chanting and openly appeared to men. The blessed Jerome tells us that about a quarter of a mile from the cave where Christ was born stood the tower of Aderus, in which lived shepherds. That night three of them were awake, keeping watch over their flock, when suddenly the chief among Angels appeared, shining with glorious Heavenly Light and filling the shepherds with terror. The Angel told them not to be afraid and proclaimed the Good Tidings (News) of the Savior’s Birth. He declared that they would witness a Sign that would confirm the Truth of his words: "Ye shall find," said he, "the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger" (Luke, Ch. 2).

As soon as he said this, the chanting of the Heavenly Hosts was heard. they were praising the Lord and singing, "Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace, goodwill among men." After the Vision came to an end, shepherds took counsel with one another and hurried to the cave to see whether the Angel’s words were true. They found the immaculate Virgin Mary, the Theotokos; Saint Joseph, her betrothed, and the Child, wrapped in swaddling clohtes and lying in a manger. They at once believed that the Babe was Christ the Lord, the Messiah Whom they awaited, come to save the race of man, and they worshipped Him. Thereupon they told Mary, Joseph, Salome, and the others what the Angel had said to about the Child. Everyone was amazed by their testimony and the Most Pure Virgin Mother laid up al these things in her heart. Then the shepherds departed, praising and glorifying God.

Thus did Our Lord Jesus Christ appear on the earth. May we sinners send up all glory, honor, worship, and thanksgiving to Him, His beginningless Father, and His Eternal Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen. [ Source: The Great Collection of The Lives of the Saints]

_______________

"Glory Be To GOD
For
All Things!"

– Saint John Chrysostomos

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

+ Father George






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