Feast Day: December 25th
“…Who for us and for our Salvation, came down from Heaven, and was Incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became Human…”
Apolytikion: Thy Nativity, O Christ our God, hath shined the light of knowledge upon the world; for thereby they that worshipped the stars were instructed 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: Today the Virgin gives birth to Him Who is above all being, and the Earth offers the Cave to Him Whom no one can approach; Angels with Shepherds give glory, and Magi journey with a star; for us there has been born a little Child: God before the ages.
Troparion: 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 Divine Fruit: For if we eat of it, we shall live forever and not die like Adam. Christ comes to restore the image which He made in the beginning.
More beautiful Nativity Prayers & Chants
“Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
“God became Man so that man can become god by Grace.” – Saint Athanasius the Great
“Christ, finding the Holy Body and Soul of the Virgin, builds for Himself a Living Temple, and as He had willed, formed there a Man from the Virgin; and, putting Him on, this day came forth; unashamed of the lowliness of our nature.” – Saint John Chrysostom
Saint Basil the Great marvelling at the event of the Birth of Christ puts the following words into the mouth of the Virgin Mary, “What should I name You, my wonderful Baby? What mortal name should I give to the fruit of the Holy Spirit? Shall I offer You incense or milk? Do You need from me motherly nurturing, or to fall at Your feet to Worship You? What inexplicable contrast? Heaven is Your Throne, and I place You upon my knees. I see You on Earth, and yet You have not left Heaven. Heaven is where You are.”
“My Christ, Your Love knows no limits.” – Saint Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia
“I have been amazed that some are utterly in doubt as to whether or not the Holy Virgin is able to be called the Mother of God. For if Our Lord Jesus Christ is God, how should the Holy Virgin who bore Him not be the Mother of God?” – Saint Cyril of Alexandria
“This Christmas night bestowed peace on the whole world, so let no one threaten. This is the night of the Most Gentle One, let no one be cruel. This is the night of the Humble One, let no one be proud. Now is the day of joy, let us not revenge. Now is the day of Good Will, let us not be mean. In this Day of Peace, let us not be conquered by anger. Today the Bountiful impoverished Himself for our sake, so, rich one, invite the poor to your table. Today we receive a Gift for which we did not ask, so let us give alms to those who implore and beg us. This present Day cast open the Heavenly doors to our Prayers, let us open our door to those who ask our forgiveness. Today the Divine Being took upon Himself the seal of our humanity, in order for humanity to be decorated by the Seal of Divinity.” – Saint Isaac the Syrian
“There is a new wonder in Heaven and on Earth: God is on Earth and man is in Heaven.” – Saint Thalassios the Libyan.
“The Babe that I carry carries me, saith Mary.” – Saint Ephrem the Syrian
‘”I remember,” said Saint Ephraim of Katounakia, “that I was astonished by everywhere in the Holy Lands, but when I went to the Cave of Bethlehem, there, my heart was broken! It was torn into a thousand pieces! And I said, ‘How was God born in this place, in this cave, without any consolation, like one thrown out of the city? This God Who could make anything for Himself, but, without complaint, far from every worldly comfort, during the night (and the coldest night of the year), the longest night of the year, in a totally abandoned place, He Who created everything — Heaven and Earth — He was born in this place! “And when I returned [to his cell on Mount Athos], I entered in and saw my blankets (what blankets did He have?), and I saw what I had, and I was ashamed, and said: ‘If God was born in that cave, how could I need all of these things?’ I saw pots and pans…” Metropolitan Athanasios of Lemesou, who was relating the story, comments that: “If I were to describe his pots…not even our dogs would eat from them! And if I could describe his bed…not even our pigs would we put in them! “But, he perceived his place to be a luxury, over the top. And from then on, when they would tell him: “Elder, your cell is small.” He would reply: “God was born in a cave. If I thought of God’s cave, well then, what could I say regarding my own?”
“When God became Man, then Divine Life became human life, Divine power became human power, Divine Truth became human truth, and Divine righteousness became human righteousness: everything which is God’s became man’s.” – Saint Justin Popovich
“What He was, He laid aside; what He was not, He assumed. He takes upon Himself the poverty of my flesh so that I may receive the riches of His Divinity.” – Saint Gregory Nazianzus
“When God became known to us in the flesh, He neither received the passions of human nature, nor did the Virgin Mary suffer pain, nor was the Holy Spirit diminished in any way, nor was the power of the Most High set aside in any manner, and all this was because all was accomplished by the Holy Spirit. Thus the power of the Most High was not abased, and the child was born with no damage whatsoever to the mother’s virginity.” – Saint Gregory of Nyssa
“Why is it hard to believe that Mary gave birth in a way contrary to the law of natural birth and remained a virgin, when contrary to the law of nature the sea looked at Him and fled, and the waters of the Jordan returned to their source (Ps. 113:3). Is it past belief that a virgin gave birth when we read that a rock issued water (Ex. 17:6), and the waves of the sea were made solid as a wall (Ex. 14:22)? Is it past belief that a Man came from a virgin when a rock bubbled forth a flowing stream (Ex. 20:11), iron floated on water (4 Kings 6:6), a Man walked upon the waters (Mt. 14:26)? If the waters bore a Man, could not a virgin give birth to a man? What Man? Him of Whom we read: ‘…the Lord shall be known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day; and they shall offer sacrifices, and shall vow vows to the Lord, and pay them’ (Is. 19:20). In the Old Testament a Hebrew virgin (Miriam) led an army through the sea (Ex. 15:21); in the New testament a king’s daughter (the Virgin Mary) was chosen to be the Heavenly entrance to Salvation.” – Saint Ambrose Bishop of Milan
“After the normal nine-month gestational period, Christ was born at the beginning of the tenth, in accordance with the law of gestation. It was the birth that surpassed the established order of birthgiving, as it was without pain; for, where pleasure had not preceded, pain did not follow. And just as at His conception He had kept her who conceived Him virgin, so also at His birth did He maintain her virginity intact, because He alone passed through her and kept her shut [Ezekiel 44:1-3]. While the conception was by ‘hearing’, the birth was by the usual orifice through which children are born, even though there are some who concoct an idle tale of His being born from the side of the Mother of God. For it was not impossible for Him to pass through the gate without breaking its seals. Hence, the Ever-Virgin remained virgin even after giving birth and never had converse with a husband as long as she lived.” – Saint John of Damascus
“Come, let us wonder at the Virgin Most Pure, wondrous in herself, unique in creation, she gave birth, yet knew no man; her pure Soul with wonder was filled, daily her mind gave praise in joy at the twofold wonder: her virginity preserved, her child most dear. Blessed is He Who shone forth from her!” – Saint Ephraim the Syrian
In the Protoevangelium of James, there is a scene regarding the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, when the Ever-Virgin Mary is about to give birth she sends Saint Joseph out to find a midwife to help in the delivery. Saint Joseph described walking through the night and experiencing all nature frozen in place. He saw birds paused midflight, people who were eating frozen mid-chew, and flowing river water stopped mid-splash. And he immediately noticed time resume its normal flow. He finds a midwife, however at this time Jesus Christ was already Born. – “And I Joseph was walking, and was not walking; and I looked up into the sky, and saw the sky astonished; and I looked up to the pole of the heavens, and saw it standing, and the birds of the air keeping still. And I looked down upon the earth, and saw a trough lying, and work-people reclining: and their hands were in the trough. And those that were eating did not eat, and those that were rising did not carry it up, and those that were conveying anything to their mouths did not convey it; but the faces of all were looking upwards. And I saw the sheep walking, and the sheep stood still; and the shepherd raised his hand to strike them, and his hand remained up. And I looked upon the current of the river, and I saw the mouths of the kids resting on the water and not drinking, and all things in a moment were driven from their course.”