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And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. (Luke 2:1-20)

Troparion, tone 4

Thy Nativity, O Christ our God, hath shined upon the world the light of knowledge;
for thereby, they that worshipped the stars were taught by a star to worship Thee, the Sun of Righteousness,
and to know Thee, the Dayspring from on high. O Lord, glory be to Thee.

Kontakion, tone 3

The Virgin today gives birth to the Transcendent One, and the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One.
Angels and shepherds glorify Him, and wise men journey with a star.
For a young Child is born for us, Who is the eternal God.

+Metropolitan Laurus (Shkurla)


The Feast of the Birth of Christ, like the approaching feast of the Baptism of the Lord, elicits feelings of love and thanksgiving in the heart of every believer. Just consider: God Himself is coming to us, He is coming down to earth; the Unlimited Almighty Creator is entering the limitations of creation, is born a helpless infant in a poor cave in Bethlehem. Along with others, He approaches John the Baptist and humbly bows His Head under his hand in the waters of the Jordan. What humility and condescension, what love for mankind! God speaks with us in our language and in our image.

God became man so that His mystical union with us might be accomplished. This union must take place in our inner life, and it is possible only in the Church. For in the pious partaking of the Holy Mysteries is accomplished the full merging of human essence with the God-man, i.e., the three parts of human essence, spirit, soul, and body, are united with the two natures, Divine and human, of our Savior. Thus, this mystical union is accomplished in every pious communicant and the miracle of the Incarnation of God is repeated, for, as St Simeon the New Theologian writes, “In receiving the spirit of our Master and God, we become partakers of His Divinity and essence; in consuming His all-pure Body, we truly and fully become related to Him and share one body with Him.”

Let each of us be inspired by the call of John the Forerunner, who “cried in the wilderness to all the people: ‘Repent and be cleansed while there is yet time. For lo, Christ is at hand, Who delivers the world from corruption.’“ (from the irmos of the 6th ode of the canon for Theophany). For only repentance, a moral change, and turning to God will allow us to actually enter the Kingdom of Christ, that is, His Church, and profit by everything She offers: the mysteries, the divine services, the fasts, and in general, by all of Her treasures and grace-filled means for our salvation, renewal, and deification.

May God help all of us to live a genuine Church life and become spiritually wealthy. Then our life will become an unceasing Divine Liturgy, a continual feast of communion with the Living God, Who has become a Living Man!


Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) of blessed memory. His Final Nativity Epistle    

God Has Entered the Bosom of Human Life. St.Justin (Popovic)

On the Night of the Nativity, by St.Ephraim Syrian 

The Nativity Epistle of Holy Hierarch John of  Shanghai and San Francisco (1962)

The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, by Abbot Nikon Vorobiev (1945)

Twas the Night Before Christmas

The Mystery of the Nativity

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  • 4001 17th St. N.W.,
  • Washington, D.C., 20011

Phone  (202) 726-3000




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