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December 22, 2017

Dec. 22 - 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.

At Vespers for this third day of the forefeast of the Nativity we sing, “Christ is born on earth to crush the power of evil, to enlighten those in darkness, and to free the captives. Let us go forth to meet Him.”

In other hymns we chant today:

"Bethlehem, be adorned; sing, City of Zion; rejoice, O desert, betrothed to joy; for a star comes forth in Bethlehem, announcing that Christ is about to be born, and a cave receives the Uncontainable, and a manger is being prepared to receive eternal Life". "God is with us will be incarnate, understand contrary nations, and submit yourselves removing yourselves from our lives"; "understand and submit yourselves, for God is with us, who threshes and winnows from the earth every dominion and authority that do not yield to Him". "Let the heavens rejoice, and the earth be glad and let the hosts of angels clearly sing: Glory to God in the highest"; "Come, you born of the earth with angels, and let us form a choir: let us cry out: Glory to God in the highest". "Holding to the law of love, let us take up the goal of brotherly love, being at peace with one another, and of one mind: for Christ, the granter of peace draws near, bringing peace to the universe and saving".

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
Today the Virgin comes to the cave, to give birth to the Eternal Word. Hear the glad tidings and rejoice, O universe. Glorify with the angels and the shepherds the Eternal God, who is willing to appear as a little child.