Saturday, December 22, 2012



     The following  hymns, are among those used during the prefeast  and  the Nativity of Christ, and anyone seeking the genuine  “Christmas spirit”, need look no further for it is totally expressed  in these hymns. These  hymns are filled with the spirit of Christmas and properly  prepare the faithful for the Nativity of Christ. Some  may hear these hymns in a different language miss some of the meaning.  Others may not grasp all the words during choir singing, and others may just find them helpful. It is good to understand the words of what is sung,  for it  benefits our souls. Orthodoxy music is not ordinary but is inspired due to its source in the Spirit. The hymnology of Orthodoxy has been created by many Saints, among them are: St. Romanos Melodos, St. John Damascene, St. Ephraim the Syrian, St. Joseph the Hymnwriter, St. John Koukouzelos, the Nun Kassiani.  Just reading these hymns will fill a believer with the sweetness of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Behold, the time of our salvation approaches
Make yourself ready O cave,
For the Virgin approaches to give birth. 
O Bethlehem of Judea.
Be glad and rejoice,
For from you shall shine forth the Lord.
Hear this you mountains and  hills,
And all regions around Judea,
Christ is coming to save the people
Whom He has created,  
For He is the Lover of man.
(Vespers Sunday before Nativity)

Let us celebrate O people,
The prefeast of Christ’s Nativity!
Let us raise our minds on high,
Going up in spirit to Bethlehem.
With the eyes of our souls,
Let us behold the Virgin
As she hastens to the cave
To give birth to the Lord and God of all.
When Joseph  saw the mighty wonder
He thought that he had seen only a human Child 
Wrapped in swaddling clothes, 
But from all that came to pass
He found the Child to be true God
Who grants mercy to the world.

Let us celebrate O people,
The prefeast of Christ’s Nativity!
Let us raise our minds on high.
Going in spirit up to Bethlehem.
Let us behold the great mystery in the cave.
For Eden is once again open,
When God comes forth from the Virgin, 
Remaining the same perfect God,
And becoming a perfect man.
Therefore let us cry out to Him:
Holy God, Father without beginning!
Holy Mighty, Incarnate Son!
Holy immortal, the Spirit and the Comforter!
O Holy Trinity, glory to you!
(Vespers of the first day of the prefeast of Christmas Dec. 20)

Come O you faithful, 
Begin the celebration!
Sing with the magi and shepherds!
Salvation comes from the Virgin’s womb,
Recalling the faithful to life.
(Vespers of the first day of the prefeast of Christmas)

Let us reject the corruption of the passions,
Awaiting the visitation of Christ. 
Let us come to our senses and receive knowledge,
The gift of the undefiled Lord,
Who comes to be clothed in our flesh,
Refashioning us in piety.

Beholding Christ, let us be exalted through humility.
Let us abandon earthly passions with zeal for good.
Let us learn through faith not to be proud in heart.
Let us humiliate ourselves in spirit,
That by good deeds we may exalt Him who comes to be born.
(Compline of the first day of the prefeast of Christmas)

Prepare O Bethlehem,
For Eden has been opened to all.
Adorn yourself O Ephratha,
For the Tree of Life blossoms forth
From the Virgin in the cave.
Her womb is a spiritual Paradise
Planted with the fruit divine;
If we eat of it, we shall live for ever,
And not die like Adam.
Christ is coming to restore the image
Which He made in the beginning.
(Troparion of the prefeast of the Nativity)

Make ready O Bethlehem, for Eden is opened.
Prepare O Ephratha, for Adam and Eve are renewed.
Salvation enters the world and the curse is destroyed.
Make ready, hearts of righteous men,
Instead of myrrh, bring songs as an offering of wisdom.
Receive salvation and immortality for your bodies and your souls.
Behold the Master who lays in a manger urges us
To complete our spiritual songs.
Let us cry unto Him unceasingly: Lord, glory to you!
(Vespers of the 4th day of the prefeast of the Nativity, December 23)

The Creator, the Wisdom of God draws near,
The mist of the prophet’s promise has dispersed.
Joy clears the skies,
Truth is resplendent,
The dark shadows are dispelled,
The gate of Eden are opened.
Adam dances in exultation:
Our Creator and God wills to fashion us anew.
(The second day of the prefeast of the Nativity, December 21)

He who is the Fashioner of all,
Begotten of the Father before the ages,
Comes to be born of the Virgin.
He is the wisdom, Logos and Power of God.
We magnify Him as God and man, the Lord,
Brought forth in two natures yet being one person.
I am revealed as a man in essence and not imagination
[says the Lord]
By this communion human nature is united to me 
And made me godlike.
Know that I am your Savior,
Who proceeds from the Virgin’s womb,
Whom blessing in faith we magnify in song.
(Compline of the 3rd day of the prefeast of the Nativity, Dec. 22

What shall we offer you, O Christ
Who for our sake has appeared
On the earth as a man.
Every creature which you have made
Offers you their thanks.
The angels offer you a song.
The heavens, a star;
The magi, their gifts.
The shepherds, their wonder;
The earth, its cave;
The wilderness, the manger.
And we offer you a Virgin Mother.
O God before the ages, have mercy upon us.
(Vespers of the prefeast of the Nativity, Dec. 23)

With the shepherds and angels
They prepare the way of the Lord.
The star shines brightly;
The cave is radiant.
The magi come bearing their gifts.

Come,  O Bethlehem,
Anoint the holy manger,
For the Master comes to you,
Sanctifying your wood with His own divinity.
(Orthos, second day of the prefeast of the Nativity, Dec. 21

Let creation rejoice exceedingly,
For the Creator fashions himself as a creature.
And He who is before all things, now manifests
Himself as God newly revealed.
Let the magi go to meet Him with their gifts,
Let the shepherds clap their hands,
In faith at the wonder
And let mortal men join the angels with rejoicing.
(Compline final day of prefeast of the Nativity, Dec 24)

Rejoice, O Virgin,
The Theotokos who of the Holy Spirit
Has borne Life into the world,
For the salvation of all.
(Orthos of the final day of the prefeast of the Nativity, Dec 24)

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace!
Today Bethlehem receives Him who reigns 
Forever with the Father.
Today angels glorify the newborn babe,
In hymns worthy of God.
Glory to God in the highest!
And on earth peace, good will among men.
(Orthos of the prefeast of the Nativity)

Today heaven and earth are united, for Christ is born,
Today God has come to earth, and man ascends to heaven.
Today God, who by nature cannot be seen,
Is seen in the flesh for our sake.
Let us glorify Him, crying:
Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace!
Your coming has brought peace to us:
Glory to you, our Savior
(Litya verses of the Nativity)

Glory to Him whose good will it was
That peace should come on earth!
The Virgin is now more spacious than the heavens.
Light has shown on those in darkness;
It has exalted the humble, who sing like the angels:
Glory to God in the highest!

Listen O heaven, and give ear O earth; 
For behold, the Son, the Logos of the Father,
Comes to be born of a Maiden
Who has not known a man.
Wherefore, by the good will of Him
Who gave Him birth without passion,
And with assistance of the Holy Spirit,
Make ready O Bethlehem, and Eden,
Open up your gates.
For He who is,  shall be 
That which He has not been,
And the Maker of the entire creation,
Shall become the Grantor
Of the Great Mercy to the world.
(Vespers Sunday before Nativity)

Greatly forbearing Christ,
Because of your great compassion,
You were enrolled with the servants,
By the order of Caesar,
That you might come and grant liberty,
And safety to your thankless servants,
Who adore your Nativity,
You who comes to save our souls.
( Vespers Sunday before Nativity )

Let us go before O nations,
And celebrate the Nativity of Christ.
Lifting our minds to Bethlehem,
Let us ascend with our consciousness,
And behold the great mystery in the cave; 
For verily Eden has been opened
By the coming forth of God 
From the spotless Virgin,
Perfect in divinity,
Perfect in humanity.
Therefore let us cry out!
Holy God, eternal Father!
Holy Mighty, incarnate Son!
Holy immortal, Comforting Spirit!
Holy Trinity, Glory to you!

The Virgin now comes to Bethlehem
To give birth to Christ,
Who has become an infant in the flesh.
Christ has voluntarily become poor;
Christ has become visible;
Let heaven and earth rejoice!

Skip, O hills and mountains!
Dance, O prophets who spoke of God!
Clap your hands, O peoples and nations!
The salvation and enlightenment of all draws near.
He comes to be born in the city of Bethlehem.

After meeting the chief priests,
Herod the deceiver spoke to the magi:
Go and search for the child.
Declare quickly to me when you find Him.
But you destroyed his plot, O Lord,
Putting to shame the lawless slave of evil.

A great and marvelous wonder
Has happened on this day:
The Virgin bears a child
And her womb suffers no corruption.
The Logos has become flesh
Yet does not cease to dwell with the Father.
Angels with shepherds offer glory,
And with them we cry aloud:
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace!

Christ is born!   Glorify Him!
Christ from the heavens, go to meet Him.  
Christ is earth! Be exalted!
Sing unto the Lord All the earth,
Praise Him in gladness O people!
For he has been glorified!

Today the Virgin
Gives birth to the transcendent One
And the earth now offers
A cave to the unapproachable One.
Angels come with the Shepherds 
And  glorify Him,
Magi come,
After they were following a star.
Unto us is born upon this day,
A New Child,
Who is the God before the ages.

Your Nativity, O Christ our God,
Arose upon the world 
As the light of knowledge
For by it those who 
Worshiped the stars, 
Were being taught by a star,
To adore you,
The sun of righteousness,
And to know you,
The Sunrise from on high,
O Lord. Glory to you!

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