December 21, 2017

Dec. 21 - The Forefeast of the Nativity of the Lord

The Forefeast of the Nativity of the Lord begins on December 20. From then till Christmas, most of the liturgical hymns will be concerned with the birth of the Savior.

During Matins (after the first Kathisma) on this second day of the forefeast of the Nativity we sing, “The unapproachable God in His tender mercy approaches me; He wills to be born in the flesh in the city of Bethlehem. He receives human nature from a Virgin maiden. Let us eagerly run to greet Him, crying out in fear: O Lord, glory to Thee.”

In other hymns we chant today:

"A marvelous wonder appears today! For our Savior is now hastening to be born in the flesh for us in the cave from the Virgin"; "Zion, rejoice!", "Jerusalem, be glad", "Creation celebrates in advance as it joyfully magnifies the One who has wrought such glories upon earth". "Come, let us who are born of earth ceaselessly hymn with one voice the Virgin Theotokos Mary"; "All you ends of the earth be filled with joy; for the Theotokos draws near to give birth to the King of the universe". "Already Christ comes to be born in Bethlehem, to save the universe, for He is the only Lover of mankind"; "Let us today now hasten to celebrate His Nativity beforehand with uprightness of mind", "pouring out tears like myrrh for Christ Who is being born in the flesh for our sake, therefore let us be cleansed of our filth for the Immaculate One who comes in purity".

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
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 fruit divine; if we eat of it we shall live forever and not die like Adam. Christ is coming to restore the image which He made in the beginning."

Kontakion in the Second Tone
He who holds the earth in the hollow of His hand, now is beheld in Bethlehem wrapped in swaddling bands. We offer pre-festal hymns to His Mother, who maternally rejoices, having held to her bosom the Son of God.