My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Incarnate God,
CHRIST IS BORN! GLORIFY HIM! ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΓΕΝΝΑΤΑΙ! ΔΟΞΑΣΑΤE!
A PRAYER FROM SAINT BASIL THE GREAT
The Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great
THE HOLY ANAPHORA
WITH these blessed powers, Master and lover of mankind, we sinners also cry out and say: truly You are Holy, and All-Holy; there is no bound to the Majesty of Your Holiness. You are Holy in all Your works, for in Righteousness and true judgment You have brought all things to pass for us. Taking clay from the earth, You shaped man, and honoring him, O God, with Your likeness, You set him in a Paradise of delight, promising him immortality and the enjoyment of everlasting blessings in the keeping of Your commandments.
But once he disobeyed You, the True God Who created him, and fell under the serpent’s guile, becoming subject to death by his own transgression, in Your just judgment, O God, You exiled him from Paradise into this world, returning him to the earth from which he was first taken, yet planned for him SALVATION THROUGH REBIRTH IN YOUR CHRIST.
For You did not turn away altogether from what You had fashioned, O Gracious God, nor did You forget the work of Your hands. But in the depth of Your love, You watched over him in many ways. You sent forth Prophets, You worked mighty signs through Your Saints, who in each generation were pleasing to You. You spoke to us through the mouths of Your servants the Prophets, announcing to us beforehand THE SALVATION THAT WAS TO COME. You gave the Law as guide; You set Angels as guardians. And when THE FULLNESS OF TIME CAME, YOU SPOKE TO US THROUGH YOUR VERY SON, THROUGH WHOM YOU CREATED THE AGES.
For though He is the reflection of Your Glory and the very Likeness of Your Person, sustaining all things by the power of His Logos/Word, He "did not count equality with [You, God and Father] a thing to be grasped. But though He was God BEFORE ALL TIME, He was sent on earth and lived among the people. AND TAKING FLESH FROM THE Holy Virgin, He "EMPTIED HIMSELF, TAKING THE FORM OF A SERVANT, BEING IN THE LIKENESS" of "our lowly body," that He might "CHANGE [US] TO BE LIKE His glorious body."
For SINCE IT WAS BY MAN THAT SIN ENTERED THE WORLD, AND DEATH THROUGH SIN, Your Only-Begotten Son, He Who was in the bosom of God the Father, CONDESCENDED TO BE BORN OF WOMAN, the Holy Theotokos, and Ever-virgin Mary; TO BE BORN UNDER THE LAW, SO AS TO CONDEMN SIN IN HIS FLESH, THAT THOSE WHO DIE IN ADAM, MAY BE BROUGHT TO LIFE IN YOUR CHRIST.
And HAVING LIVED IN THIS WORLD AND HAVING PRECEPTS FOR SALVATION, TURNING US AWAY FROM THE DELUSION OF IDOLATRY, HE BROUGHT US TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF YOU, THE TRUE GOD AND FATHER, REDEEMING US TO HIMSELF AS "A CHOSEN RACE, A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION," AND, WHEN HE HAD CLEANSED US IN WATER AND SANCTIFIED US WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT, HE GAVE HIMSELF UP AS A RANSOM TO DEATH, TO WHICH WE WERE IN BONDAGE, SOLD UNDER SIN. HE DESCENDED INTO HADES BY WAY OF THE CROSS, "THAT HE MIGHT FILL ALL THINGS" IN HIMSELF AND "LOOSED THE PANGS OF DEATH."
RISING ON THE THIRD DAY, HE PREPARED THE WAY FOR THE RESURRECTION OF ALL FLESH FROM THE DEAD, "BECAUSE IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE FOR HIM [THE AUTHOR OF LIFE] TO BE HELD BY IT." HE THUS BECAME THE FIRST FRUITS OF THOSE WHO HAVE FALLEN ASLEEP," "THE FIRST-BORN FROM THE DEAD, THAT IN EVERYTHING HE MIGHT BE PREEMINENT." ASCENDING INTO HEAVEN, HE WAS ENTHRONED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF YOUR MAJESTY ON HIGH, WHENCE HE SHALL COME TO RENDER TO EACH OF US ACCORDING TO OUR DEEDS.
But He left us remembrances of His Saving Passion, these which we have set forth as He COMMENDED. For as He was about to go forth to His VOLUNTARY AND ETERNALLY MEMORABLE AND LIFEGIVING DEATH, ON the night when He gave Himself up FOR THE LIFE OF THE WORLD, TAKING BREAD IN His Holy and Spotless hands, and presenting it to You, God and Father, He gave thanks, blessed it, Sanctified it and broke it, then He gave it to His holy Disciples and Apostles, saying: Take eat, this is My Body which is broken for you for the remission of sins. Amen. Likewise, taking the cup "of the fruit of the vine" mixing it, giving thanks, blessing, and sanctifying it, He gave it to His holy Disciples and Apostles, saying: Drink of this all of you; this is My Blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins. Amen.
Do this in remembrance of Me. For whenever you eat this Bread and drink this cup, you proclaim My death and confess My Resurrection. Therefore, Master, as we too remember His Saving sufferings, the Lifegiving Cross, the three days in the tomb, the Resurrection from the dead, the Ascension into Heaven, the Enthronement at Your Right Hand, God, and Father, and His Glorious and awesome Second Coming.
Offering You these gifts from Your Own Gifts, IN ALL AND FOR ALL.
WE PRAISE YOU, WE BLESS YOU, WE GIVE THANKS TO YOU, AND WE PRAY TO YOU, LORD OUR GOD.
Please Note: The Divine Liturgy conducted for Christmas is the Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great.
MAY YOU ALL HAVE A BLESSED, HEALTHY, AND SAFE CHRISTMAS.
With agape in the Incarnate Logos,
+ Father George