Eve of Nativity Greetings

Past Orthodox Christmas Postings Resource ⭐️

On the Night of Nativity ~ 7th Century Homily

This Nativity night [Christ] 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 One 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 Day opens the heavenly doors to our prayers;
Let us open our door to those who ask our forgiveness.
Today the Divine One took upon Himself the seal of our humanity,
In order for humanity to be adorned by the Seal of Divinity.

~ by St. Isaac the Syrian, 7th century

Parish Youth Choir sang this short Nativity piece (virtually), back in 2020. Their merry voices rang out like silver trumpets, with the lyrics from St. Isaac the Syrian’s poem above, and put to my music.

Below, our Parish Choir (recorded in 2014) sings the ancient Nativity Kontakion (a short hymn of a feast or a saint) composed by 6th century St. Romanos the Melodist:


…Wishing you a blessed Nativity Feast tomorrow, and a joyous Twelve Days of Christmas!

Wake the Day With Gladness

This Morning’s Sonshine Broke Through Storm Clouds

Today we commemorate the heavenly birthday of sainted Good King Wenceslas! Many westerners have been introduced to him through an ancient Christmas Carol, retelling one of his miracles.

In this carol, St. Wenceslas helps distribute alms to the needy on the Eve of the Feast of St. Stephen the Apostle, Deacon, and Protomartyr (celebrated on the third day of Christmas); when the churches were opened and yearly collections from the Poor Alms Boxes were dispersed among the needy of the community. This was the original purpose and meaning of Boxing Day!

St. Wenceslas was martyred on today’s date (September 28/October 11) in the year 935. He is buried in Prague. 

A beautiful hymn was penned in the 9th century by St. Joseph the Hymnographer – a Greek monk, and one of the many liturgical poets and hymnographers of the Orthodox Church. The hymn was later translated into English, and woven into the ancient 13th century carol melody used for Good King Wenceslas.

This ancient hymn was also later sung on St. Stephen’s feast day and many other special days of the martyrs. Some churches add on St. Joseph the Hymnographer’s hymn to carol of Good King Wenceslas, as an extra and final verse:

Christian friends, your voices raise.
Wake the day with gladness.
God Himself to joy and praise 
turns our human sadness: 
Joy that martyrs won their crown, 
opened heav’ns bright portal, 
when they laid the mortal down 
for the life immortal.

Whatever we do, let us always try to do our very best to please God our Creator… that we may wake each day with gladness, and rejoice to see heaven’s bright portal break through the clouds… to illumine the way ahead!

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might

In the Form of a Dove

Beautiful Dome Painting on round canvas, by Marie Proe ~ Niagara Falls, New York

January 19/6

Greetings on Holy Theophany!

Christ is Baptised! In the Jordan!

Today’s Great Feast commemorates the baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan River by St. John the Baptist. Today the Heavens are opened. Today the Holy Spirit descends in the form of a dove. Today God the Father’s Voice from heaven declares Jesus Christ is His beloved Son. Today the Illuminating Light and Mystery of the Holy Trinity appears to the inhabited earth!

May blessings abound
With God’s gracious Love,
So let our hearts soar
On wings like a dove!

Good Day and Good Feast to you!

Epiphany Carol from Patmos, Greece.

Then Will Come the 2nd Feast!

Detail of Parish Mosaic Icon – St. Bail the Great

…that will be St. Basil’s Feast; rejoice!

One of my favourite quotes from St. Basil the Great ~ A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.

May we all plant a Perennial Crop of Kindness and Share the Harvest from the Garden of God’s Love!

Happy St. Basil’s Day – January 14/1

Greetings on the Feast – with St. Basil the Great Quotes

St. Basil’s Day Cake Recipe

Sharing our parish choir’s (a cappella) 2014 recording of the Christmastide Carol – We Wish You Good Evening. We sing of the coming 3 feasts! Holy Nativity, St. Basil the Great’s Day, and Holy Theophany.

O rejoice all the world, the Son of God is born!

Hail the Blest Morn!

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

Happy Second Day of Nativity!

Sharing our parish choir’s women’s (a cappella) recording of this beautiful carol – Star of the East. ⭐️

Parish Recording 2014

Hail the blest morn, see the great Mediator,
Down from the regions of glory descend.
Shepherds, go worship the Babe in the manger,
Lo, for His guard the bright angels attend.

Refrain:
Brightest and best, of the stars of the morning,
Dawn on our darkness and lend us thine aid.
Star in the East, the horizon adorning,
Guide where our Infant Redeemer was laid.

Cold on His cradle the dewdrops are shining,
Low lies His bed, with the beasts of the stall.
Angels adore Him, in slumbers reclining,
Wise men and shepherds before Him do fall.

Say, shall we yield Him in costly devotion
Odours of Eden and offerings divine,
Gems from the mountain and pearls from the ocean,
Myrrh from the forest and gold from the mine.

Vainly we offer each ample oblation,
Vainly with gold, we His favour secure,
Richer by far is the heart’s adoration,
Nearer to God are the prayers of the poor.

Text by Reginald Heber (1783-1826)
Musical Arrangement by John H. Hickok (1832
)

Meriġe Crīstesmæsse
Blessed Christmastide!

Past Nativity Posts’ Resource

Church Bells in Ayia Napa, Cypress – Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

May the Light of Bethlehem’s Star illuminate and warm our hearts on this coming Bright Feast of Christ’s Holy Nativity!

National Public Radio NPR Broadcast with Blisswood on Orthodox Christmas Published January 6, 2023

Our Little Nativity Creche Published by issuu magazine 2022

Re-Gift Boomerang Published by issuu magazine 2022

Christ is Born! Posted January 6, 2022

Christ is Born! Glorify Him! Posted January 7, 2021

Happy 2nd Day of Christmas Posted January 8, 2022

Happy 3rd Day of Christmas Posted January 9, 2022

4th Day of Nativity Posted January 10, 2022

5th Day of Nativity – the Holy Innocents Posted January 11, 2022

6th Day of Nativity Posted January 12, 2022

Apodosis of Nativity Posted January 13, 2022

St. Basil’s Feast Day Posted January 14, 2022

St. Basil’s Day Cake Recipe Posted January 14, 2021

Greetings on St. Basil’s Day Posted January 14, 2021

Holy Theophany Posted January 19, 2022

St. Sophia Voices of Faith Hope and Love – Youth Choir Virtual Nativity Concert 2020

St. Sophia Voices of Faith Hope and Love – Youth Choir Virtual Nativity Tropar 2020

St. Sophia Adult Choir Sing the 16th Century Coventry Carol – 2014 Concert (In Honour of the Holy Innocents)

It’s Nativity Poem/Song

Little Pine Tree Poem/Song

The Holly Poem

The Candy Cane Poem/Song

St. Sophia Adult Choir Sing Little Pine Tree – 2014 Concert

Prayerfully wishing you God’s Blessings of good health, strength of spirit, and peaceful joy!

With Love in Christ.

5th Day of Nativity – the Holy Innocents

Image by mamkaklass from Pixabay

Christ is Born!

January 11 / December 29

Today we commemorate the 14,000 Infants slain by Herod at Bethlehem, and its surroundings. The relics of these little saints rest in the Grotto of the 4th Century Church of the Nativity, in Bethlehem.

It was shocking to hear and understand the “Christmas” Coventry Carol for first time, when I was but a child.

Why on earth would people want to sing this, when all the other Christmas carols were warm, cozy, pockets of peace and joy? “Why? It’s ugly! Terrible!”

Mom agreed. “It is. But, they’re in heaven now, and we sing to remember this was part of what happened at Jesus’ birth.”

Even as an older youth it was painful to ponder, and still is… especially hearing the Carol now, with a grandmother’s ear. It’s a lullaby of lament… a dissonant dirge of restrained anguish. How could it not be?

Although there is great beauty in the world, this is also a world with warts and all. Earth isn’t heaven, and that’s why Christ is born… to reunite the created with the Creator.

The Coventry Carol was also my godmother’s favourite Christmas piece. She was an exceptional, amazing woman, Memory Eternal Eve! Through her, I learned to embrace the deep significance and bright sadness of this carol.

Below is a recording from a public Nativity Concert in 2014, at St. Sophia Orthodox Church, Canada.

St. Matthew 2: 16 – 18 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

St. Matthew 2: 13-14 …describes how St. Joseph was warned in a dream by an angel to flee Bethlehem and go to Egypt.

I came across this moving YouTube Video Tour: Grotto of the Holy Innocents at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

The doves in Bethlehem murmured since the serpent destroyed their offspring. The eagle fled to Egypt to go down to receive the promises. ~ St. Ephraim the Syrian

Glorify Him!

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