December 25, 2014 </br>Nativity in the Flesh of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ

December 25, 2014
Nativity in the Flesh of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son (Galatians 4:4) to save the human race. And when nine months were fulfilled from the Annunciation, when the Archangel Gabriel had appeared to the Most-holy Virgin in Nazareth, saying, Rejoice, thou that art highly favored … behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son (Luke 1:28, 31), at that time there went forth a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the people of the Roman Empire should be taxed. In accordance with this decree, everyone had to go to his own town and be registered. That is why the righteous Joseph came with the Most-holy Virgin to Bethlehem, the city of David, for they were both of the royal lineage of David. Since many people descended on this small town for the census, Joseph and Mary were unable to find lodging in any house, and they sought shelter in a cave which shepherds used as a sheepfold. In this cave-on the night between Saturday and Sunday, on the 25th of December-the Most-holy Virgin gave birth to the Savior of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ. Giving birth to Him without pain just as He was conceived without sin by the Holy Spirit and not by man, she herself wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, worshiped Him as God, and laid Him in a manger. Then the righteous Joseph drew near and worshiped Him as the Divine Fruit of the Virgin’s womb. Then the shepherds came in from the fields, directed by an angel of God, and worshiped Him as the Messiah and Savior. The shepherds heard a multitude of God’s angels singing: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men (Luke 2:14). At that time three wise men arrived from the east, led by a wondrous star, bearing their gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh. They worshiped Him as the King of kings, and offered Him their gifts (Matthew 2). Thus entered the world He Whose coming was foretold by the prophets, and Who was born in the same manner in which it had been prophesied: of a Most-holy Virgin, in the town of Bethlehem, of the lineage of David according to the flesh, at the time when there was no king in Jerusalem of the lineage of Judah, but rather when Herod, a foreigner, was reigning. After many types and prefigurings, messengers and heralds, prophets and righteous men, wise men and kings, finally He appeared, the Lord of the world and King of kings, to perform the work of the salvation of mankind, which could not be performed by His servants. To Him be eternal glory and praise! Amen. (Prologue of Ohrid)


GREAT VESPERS AND DIVINE LITURGY OF ST. BASIL THE GREAT

 

The priest, fully vested, begins: Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, now and forever and ever.

The people respond: Amen.

Come, let us bow in worship before our King and God!
Come, let us bow in worship before Christ, our King and God!
Come, let us bow in worship and fall down before the very Lord Jesus Christ, our King and God!

 

Psalm 103

 

Great Litany

 

At Psalm 140

In Tone 2

8. Come, let us rejoice in the Lord
as we tell of the present mystery.
Destroyed is the middle wall of partition;
the flaming sword turns back, the cherubim withdraw from the tree of life,
and I partake of the delight of Paradise from which I was cast out through disobedience.
For the Father’s express Image, the Imprint of His eternity,
takes the form of a servant,
and without undergoing change He comes forth from a Mother who knew not wedlock.
For what He was, He has remained, true God:
and what He was not, He has taken upon Himself, becoming man through love for mankind.
To Him let us cry aloud:
God born of a Virgin, have mercy on us.

7. Come, let us rejoice in the Lord
as we tell of the present mystery.
Destroyed is the middle wall of partition;
the flaming sword turns back, the cherubim withdraw from the tree of life,
and I partake of the delight of Paradise from which I was cast out through disobedience.
For the Father’s express Image, the Imprint of His eternity,
takes the form of a servant,
and without undergoing change He comes forth from a Mother who knew not wedlock.
For what He was, He has remained, true God:
and what He was not, He has taken upon Himself, becoming man through love for mankind.
To Him let us cry aloud:
God born of a Virgin, have mercy on us.

6. When Jesus the Lord was born of the holy Virgin,
the whole world was enlightened.
The shepherds watched in the fields,
the Magi adored and the angels sang hymns of praise;
but Herod was troubled: for God appeared in the flesh,
the Saviour of our souls.

5. When Jesus the Lord was born of the holy Virgin,
the whole world was enlightened.
The shepherds watched in the fields,
the Magi adored and the angels sang hymns of praise;
but Herod was troubled: for God appeared in the flesh,
the Saviour of our souls.

4. Your Kingdom, O Christ our God,
is a Kingdom of all the ages,
and Your rule is from generation to generation.
Made flesh of the Holy Spirit and made man of the ever-Virgin Mary,
You have enlightened us by Your coming.
Light of Light, Brightness of the Father,
You have made all creation shine with joy.
Everything that breathes praises You,
the Image of the Father’s glory.
O God–the One who is–and always was,
who shone forth from a Virgin, have mercy on us.

3. Your Kingdom, O Christ our God,
is a Kingdom of all the ages,
and Your rule is from generation to generation.
Made flesh of the Holy Spirit and made man of the ever-Virgin Mary,
You have enlightened us by Your coming.
Light of Light, Brightness of the Father,
You have made all creation shine with joy.
Everything that breathes praises You,
the Image of the Father’s glory.
O God–the One who is–and always was,
who shone forth from a Virgin, have mercy on us.

2. O Christ what shall we offer You;
for our sake You appeared on earth as man?
Every creature made by You offers thanks to You.
The angels offer You a hymn; the heavens, a star;
the Magi, gifts; the shepherds, their wonder;
the earth, its cave; the wilderness, the manger:
and we offer You a Virgin Mother.
O pre-eternal God, have mercy on us.

1. O Christ what shall we offer You;
for our sake You appeared on earth as man?
Every creature made by You offers thanks to You.
The angels offer You a hymn; the heavens, a star;
the Magi, gifts; the shepherds, their wonder;
the earth, its cave; the wilderness, the manger:
and we offer You a Virgin Mother.
O pre-eternal God, have mercy on us.

Glory…Now…

When Augustus reigned alone on earth,
the many kingdoms of men came to an end;
and when You were made man of the pure Virgin,
the many gods of idolatry were made powerless.
The cities of the world passed under one single rule;
and the nations came to believe in one sovereign Godhead.
The peoples were enrolled by the decree of Caesar;
and we, the faithful, were enrolled in the name
of the divinity,
when You, our God, were made man.
Great is Your mercy: Lord, glory to You.

 

Readings
Genesis 1:1-13; Numbers 24:2-3, 5-9, and 17-18; Micah 4:6-7 and 5:2-4a

 

Then, the priest intones the entire text of the following Troparion:

You were born in a cave hidden from sight, but heaven spoke through a star and proclaimed You to all, O Saviour. And it brought to You the Magi, who with faith bowed down in worship. Have mercy on them and us.

When the priest has finished, we respond by repeating the conclusion (Tone 6, resurrectional, even though the custom has developed of singing this conclusion to the prokeimenon melody – a custom that is less appropriate):

Response: And it brought to You the Magi,* who with faith bowed down in worship.* Have mercy on them and us.

Then the priest intones the following verses of Psalm 86, and we repeat the Troparion’s conclusion after each verse.

His foundations are on the holy mountains; the Lord loves the gates of Sion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things were spoken of You, O city of God.

Response: And it brought to You the Magi,* who with faith bowed down in worship.* Have mercy on them and us.

To those who know Me I will mention Raab and Babylon. And, behold, foreigners and the people of Tyre and Ethiopia, these were born there.

Response: And it brought to You the Magi,* who with faith bowed down in worship.* Have mercy on them and us.

A person will say “Mother Sion,” and “Such a person was born in her,” and “The Most High Himself founded her.”

Response: And it brought to You the Magi,* who with faith bowed down in worship.* Have mercy on them and us.

The Lord will declare this in His record of the peoples and rulers who were born in her. How happy are all who have their dwelling in you.

Response: And it brought to You the Magi,* who with faith bowed down in worship.* Have mercy on them and us.

Glory… Now…

Response: And it brought to You the Magi,* who with faith bowed down in worship.* Have mercy on them and us.

Then the priest intones the first half of the Troparion:

You were born in a cave hidden from sight, but heaven spoke through a star and proclaimed You to all, O Saviour.

And we conclude:

And it brought to You the Magi,* who with faith bowed down in worship.* Have mercy on them and us.

 

Isaiah 11:1-10; Baruch 3:36-38 and 4:1-4; Daniel 2:31-36 and 44-45

 

Then the priest intones another Troparion (Tone 6):

You have shone forth from a Virgin, O Christ, rational Sun of righteousness. And a star showed You, Whom nothing can contain, contained in a cave. You led Magi to worship You and along with them we magnify You: Glory to You, O Giver of life.

When the priest has finished, we respond by repeating the conclusion (Tone 6, resurrectional):

Response: You led Magi to worship You* and along with them we magnify You:* Glory to You, O Giver of life.

Then the priest intones the following verses of Psalm 92, and we repeat the Troparion’s conclusion after each verse.

The Lord is King; He is clothed with beauty; the Lord is clothed with strength and has girded Himself. For He has established the world which shall not be shaken.

Response: You led Magi to worship You* and along with them we magnify You:* Glory to You, O Giver of life.

Your throne is prepared from of old; You are from everlasting.

Response: You led Magi to worship You* and along with them we magnify You:* Glory to You, O Giver of life.

The floods have lifted up, O Lord; the floods have lifted up their voices. The floods shall lift up their breakers with the noise of many waters.

Response: You led Magi to worship You* and along with them we magnify You:* Glory to You, O Giver of life.

Wonderful are the surging waves of the sea; wonderful is the Lord on high. Your testimonies have become exceedingly credible; holiness befits Your house, O Lord, for length of days.

Response: You led Magi to worship You* and along with them we magnify You:* Glory to You, O Giver of life.

Glory… Now…

Response: You led Magi to worship You* and along with them we magnify You:* Glory to You, O Giver of life.

Then the priest intones the first half of the Troparion:

You have shone forth from a Virgin, O Christ, rational Sun of righteousness. And a star showed You, Whom nothing can contain, contained in a cave.

And we conclude:

Response: You led Magi to worship You* and along with them we magnify You:* Glory to You, O Giver of life.

 

Isaiah 9:6-7; Isaiah 7:10-16, 8:1-4, and 8-10

 

Then, the Small Litany and Trisagion followed by the Prokeimenon:

 

Tone 1 Prokeimenon – Psalm 2

The Lord said to Me: You are My Son,* today have I begotten You.
verse: Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations as an inheritance, and as Your possession, the ends of the earth.

 

Readings
Epistle: Hebrews: 1: 1-12
Gospel: Luke 2: 1-10
(if Christmas Eve falls on a Saturday or Sunday, then we read Matthew 13:31-36)

We continue with the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great.

 

 


DIVINE LITURGY ON CHRISTMAS DAY

Antiphon 1
I will confess You, Lord, with all my heart,* I will declare all Your wondrous deeds.
Through the prayers of the Mother of God,* O Saviour, save us.
In the council of the just and the congregation,* great are the works of the Lord, conforming to His will in every way.
Through the prayers of the Mother of God,* O Saviour, save us.
His work is filled with praise and majesty,* and His righteousness endures forever.
Through the prayers of the Mother of God,* O Saviour, save us.
Glory…  Now…
Only-Begotten Son…

Antiphon 3
The Lord said to my lord, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies the footstool of your feet.”

Troparion, Tone 4: Your Nativity, O Christ our God,* made the light of knowledge dawn on the world:* through it, those who worshipped the stars were taught by a star* to worship You, the Sun of Righteousness,* and to know that You, the Dawn from on the high.* Glory to You, O Lord.

The Lord will send you a sceptre of power out of Sion; reign in the midst of your enemies.

Troparion, Tone 4: Your Nativity, O Christ our God,* made the light of knowledge dawn on the world:* through it, those who worshipped the stars were taught by a star* to worship You, the Sun of Righteousness,* and to know that You, the Dawn from on the high.* Glory to You, O Lord.

Yours is the dominion on the day you are given power in the splendour of your holy ones.

Troparion, Tone 4: Your Nativity, O Christ our God,* made the light of knowledge dawn on the world:* through it, those who worshipped the stars were taught by a star* to worship You, the Sun of Righteousness,* and to know that You, the Dawn from on the high.* Glory to You, O Lord.

Entrance
From the womb before the daystar I begot you. the Lord has sworn an oath and will not go back on His word: You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Troparia and Kontakia
Troparion, Tone 4: Your Nativity, O Christ our God,* made the light of knowledge dawn on the world:* through it, those who worshipped the stars were taught by a star* to worship You, the Sun of Righteousness,* and to know that You, the Dawn from on the high.* Glory to You, O Lord.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and for ever and ever. Amen.

Kontakion, Tone 3: The Virgin today gives birth to Him who is above all being;* the earth offers the cave to Him whom no one can approach;* Angel with shepherds give Him glory,* while Magi make their way with a star,* for to us is born a little Child – the pre-eternal God.

Instead of Holy God:
All you who have been baptized into Christ, you have put on Christ! Alleluia! (3)
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and for ever and ever. Amen.
You have put on Christ! Alleluia!
All you who have been baptized into Christ, you have put on Christ! Alleluia!

Prokeimenon, Tone 8
Let all the earth worship You and sing to You; let it sing to Your Name, O Most High.
verse: Shout to the Lord, all the earth, sing now to His name, give glory to His praise. (Psalm 65:4,2)

Epistle
Galatians 4:4-7

Alleluia, Tone 1
verse: The heavens tell the glory of God, and the firmament declares the work of His hands.
verse: Day announces its message unto day and night proclaims its knowledge unto night. (Psalm 18:2,3)

Gospel
Matthew 2:1-12

Hymn to the Mother of God
O my soul, magnify Christ the King born in a manger.
and the Irmos: A strange and glorious mystery do I behold:* the cave is heaven;* the Virgin, the throne of the cherubim;* the manger, a dwelling place* in which is laid Christ, the God Whom nothing can contain.* Singing His praises, we magnify Him.

Communion Hymn
The Lord has sent deliverance* to His people.* Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. (Psalm 110:9)

Instead of “Blessed is He who comes…” we sing:
All creation is filled with rejoicing today, for Christ is born of a Virgin.

Instead of “We have seen the true light…” we sing:
All creation is filled with rejoicing today, for Christ is born of a Virgin.

Instead of “May our mouths…” and “Blessed be the Name…” we sing:
All creation is filled with rejoicing today, for Christ is born of a Virgin. (3)

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