This week we celebrate the Nativity of our Lord. Amidst all the joy and fun of opening presents with family or friends, (and the opportunity to finally enjoy the Christmas goodies that we’ve seen people around us eating for the last month), I want to take a brief moment for us to remember just what it is that we’re celebrating. Here’s an excerpt from the ancient Syriac liturgy that reminds us of all the good things that come to us because Christ became incarnate.
Jesus Christ, radiant center of glory; Image of our God, the Invisible Father; Revealer of His Eternal designs; Prince of Peace; Father of the world to come. For our sake, He took the likeness of a slave, becoming flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary; for our sake wrapped in swaddling bands and laid in a manger, adored by the shepherds and hymned by the angelic powers who sang, ‘Glory to God in the heavens and on earth peace and good to men.’
Make us worthy, Lord, to celebrate and to conclude in peace the feast which magnifies the rising of Thy Light—by avoiding empty words, working with justice, fleeing from the passions, and raising up the spirit above earthly goods. Bless Thy Church, formed long ago to be united with Thou through Thy Life-giving Blood. Come to the aid of Thy faithful shepherds: of the priests and the teachers of the Gospel. Bless Thy faithful whose only hope is Thy mercy; Christian souls, the sick, those who are tormented in spirit, and those who have asked us to pray for them. Have pity in Thy infinite clemency and preserve us in fitness to receive the future, endless, good things.
We celebrate Thy glorious Nativity with the Father who sent Thee for our redemption, with the Life-giving Spirit, now and forever, and through all ages. Amen.