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!
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.
…for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. ~ Psalm 63:7
And I say, Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest… ~ Psalm 55:6
Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings… ~ Psalm 17:8
How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. ~ Psalm 36:7
He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind… ~ Psalm 104:3
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. ~ Psalm 91:3-4
Detail of Icon with the Theotokos Virgin Mary holding our Lord Jesus Christ – Greece 2017
Christ is Born!
Happy 4th Day of Nativity today!
I love this short, sweet, and sublime 5th century Nativity Kontakion (Hymn) by St. Romanus the Melodist. This a cappella recording was sung by our parish in 2014.
The Kontakion of the Nativity bursts with the Numinous Essence of the Feast!
Today a Virgin bringeth forth the Supersubstantial, and earth offereth a cavern to the Unapproachable. Angels together with shepherds sing praises, the Wise Men journey on with the Star. For, for our sakes, God, Who is before all the ages, is born a little Child. ~ Nativity Kontakion by St. Romanus the Melodist (5th century)
A Tour Inside the Ancient Church of the Nativity, in Bethlehem, built over where Jesus Christ was born.
When the holy family fled before Herod’s sword to Egypt, robbers leapt out on the road with the intention of stealing something. The righteous Joseph was leading the donkey, on which were some belongings and on which the Most-holy Theotokos was riding with her Son at her breast. The robbers seized the donkey to lead it away. At that moment, one of the robbers approached the Mother of God to see what she was holding next to her breast.
The robber, seeing the Christ-child, was astonished at His unusual beauty and said in his astonishment: If God were to take upon Himself the flesh of man, He would not be more beautiful than this Child!
This robber then ordered his companions to take nothing from these travellers. Filled with gratitude toward this generous robber, the Most-holy Virgin said to him: Know that this Child will repay you with a good reward because you protected Him today.
Thirty-three years later, this same thief hung on the Cross for his crimes, crucified on the right side of Christ’s Cross. His name was Dismas, and the name of the thief on the left side was Gestas.
Beholding Christ the Lord innocently crucified, Dismas repented for all the evil of his life. While Gestas reviled the Lord, Dismas defended Him, saying: This man hath done nothing amiss. (St. Luke 23:41).
Dismas, therefore, was the wise thief to whom our Lord said: Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise (St. Luke 23:43). Thus the Lord granted Paradise to him who spared Him in childhood.
Detail of the Nativity Icon brings to mind the Nativity Kontakion (Short Hymn of a Feast): Today a Virgin giveth birth unto the Supersubstantial, and earth offereth a cavern to the Unapproachable, angels together with shepherds sing praises, the Wise Men journey on with the Star. For, for our sakes, God Who is before all the ages, is born a little Child. ~ 5th Century St. Romanus the Melodist
MeriġeCrīstesmæsse is an ancient salutation from pre-12th century Old English, which meant a “BlessedChrist’s Mass.” Today MeriġeCrīstesmæsse has morphed into the joyful Seasonal Greeting of Merry Christmas, or Happy Christmas!
Christ is Born! Give ye glory! Christ comes from heaven meet ye Him! Christ is on earth be ye exalted, O all the earth sing unto the Lord, and sing praises in gladness O ye people, for He hath been glorified. ~ Ode 1 of the NativityCanon
In keeping with the situation… Here is a beautiful, a cappella Nativity Folk Carol, “Heaven and Earth” as recorded by our parish in 2014.
National Public Radio’s (NPR) Morning Edition recently reached out to Blisswood!
I was interviewed for the 3 minute short radio story heard herethat aired today January 6th… regarding the traditions of those celebrating Orthodox Christmas using the Julian (Old Style) Calendar.
Some of our parish Youth Choir’s music is heard! A snippet was included of our wonderful Voices of Faith, Hope and Lovesinging the carol Glory to God in the Highest from their 2020 Virtual Nativity Concert during the pandemic. The whole concert can be heard on Blisswood’s My Music Vids
Another small clip of our music was heard from our Adult Choir’s 2014 Nativity Concert, singing Little Pine Treealso found on Blisswood’s My Music Vids.
This 20 minute interview (condensed into the 3 minute show) with NPR was such an amazing experience and a wonderful opportunity to share our ancient Orthodox Christian Faith!
May the Light of Bethlehem’s Star Illuminate and warm our hearts on this coming Bright Feast of Our Lord’s Holy Nativity!
Prayerfully wishing you God’s Blessings of good health, strength of spirit, and peaceful joy for 2023!
Christ is Born! Glorify Him! Christ comes from heaven, meet ye Him!
Nothing you see equals prayer, it makes the impossible possible, the difficult easy, and the crooked way straight. ~ St. John Chrysostom
If God is slow in answering your request, or if you ask but do not promptly receive anything, do not be upset, for you are not wiser than God. ~ St. Isaac the Syrian
God only gives three answers to prayer (Anonymous quote): 1. Yes! 2. Not yet. 3. I have something better in mind.
A snowflake is one of God’s most fragile creations, but look what they can do when they stick together! ~ Vesta M. Kelly
For new-calendar friends and family celebrating Christmas this weekend, I wish you a most Happy, Blessed Christmas!
Annotation: Merry Christmas is a greeting from the Old English (pre-12th century) words “MeriġeCrīstesmæsse” which, in the ancient sense, meant “BlessedChristmas” and was used with the time-honoured salutation – Christ is Born!