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December 24, 2014 + Selection from St. Romanos Kontakia on the Nativity

The Virgin today gives birth to the superessential One,
And the earth proffers the cave to the unapproachable One.
Angles with the shepherds sing songs of praise;
The Magi, with the star to guide pursue their way. For us there has been born,
A newborn babe, the God before time.

Bethlehem opened Eden, come let us behold;
We have found joy in this hidden place; come let us seize
The pleasures of Paradise within the cave;
There appeared an unwatered root which sprouted forgiveness;
There was found an undug well
From which David once yearned to drink;
And there the Virgin brought forth an infant
Who at once quenched their thirst, that of Adam and of David.
Come, then, let us hasten to this place where there has been born
A newborn babe, the God before time.

The father became of His own will the son of His mother,
The Savior of children lay as a child in the manger.
His mother looked down at Him and said:
"Tell me, my child, how the seed was planted in me and how it grew in me?
I behold Thee, merciful One, and I am amazed
That I, who am unwed, nurse Thee;
And though I see Thee in swaddling clothes, still I behold
My virginity untouched, For Thou has preserved it, and yet consented to be born
A newborn babe, the God before time."

Kontakia of Romanos, Byzantine Melodist, 1: On the Person of Christ, translated and annotated by Marjorie Carpenter, University of Missouri Press Columbria, 1970, p. 4.


Eve of the Nativity of our Lord

Troparion, Tone 4

Mary was of David's seed, so she went with Joseph to register in Bethlehem. She bore in her womb the Fruit not sown by man. The time for the birth was at hand. Since there was no room at the inn, the cave became a beautiful palace for the Queen. Christ is born, raising up the image that fell of old.

Kontakion, Tone 3

Today the Virgin comes to the cave to give birth to the Eternal Word. Hear the glad tidings and rejoice, O universe! Glorify with the angels and the shepherds the Eternal God, who is willing to appear as a little child!