Tuesday, December 16, 2008

On the Nativity of Christ

By Saint Gregory Nazianzen (taken from St. Nicholas Church in Billings, Montana)

(This is often chanted during the pre-Nativity season feastdays; I decided to put it here for some meditation, just in case the bustle of the season was getting to you like it is to me...)

Christ is Born; glorify Him! Christ from heaven, go to meet Him! Christ on earth, be lifted up! Sing to the Lord, all the earth. And that I may join the two in one word: Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad, because of Him who is of heaven and is now on earth. Christ in the flesh, rejoice with trembling and with joy because of your hope. Christ of a virgin. Live as virgins, you mothers, that you may be mothers of Christ. Who does not worship Him who is from the beginning? Who does not glorify Him who is also the end?

Again the darkness is past. Again Light is made....The people that sat in darkness, let them see the Great Light of full knowledge. Old things have passed away. Behold, all things are becoming new. The letter gives way, and the Spirit comes to the fore. The shadows flee away, for the Truth has come upon them. Melchisedec is now fulfilled. He that was without a mother (being begotten from the Father before all ages) now becomes without a father (being born of the Virgin). The laws of nature are upset. The world above must be filled. Christ commands it. Let us not set ourselves against Him.

Clap your hands together, all people. For unto us a Son is born, unto us a Child is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulders (for with the Cross it is raised up), and His name is called The Angel of the Great Counsel of the Father. Let John the Baptist cry aloud: Prepare ye the way of the Lord! And I too will cry aloud with the power of this Day. He who is without flesh has become incarnate. The Son of God becomes the Son of man. Jesus Christ: the same yesterday and today and forever! Let the children of Israel who seeks signs be scandalized. Let the pagans who seek wisdom speak of their folly. Let all the heretics talk till their tongues ache. They shall believe when they see Him ascending up into the heavens. And if not then, when they see Him coming out of the heavens to sit in judgment.

This then is our present festival. It is this that we are celebrating today: the Coming of God to man, that we might go forth, or rather (for this is a more proper expression), that we might go back to God - that putting off the old man, we might put on the New; and that as we died in Adam so we might live in Christ, being born with Christ and crucified with Him and buried with Him and rising with Him!

From Oration #38 delivered in 381 AD on Christmas Day

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