December 23, 2017

Dec. 23 - 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 Compline on this fourth day of the forefeast of the Nativity we sing, “Let us purify our nous, washing ourselves with the divine Mysteries; let us draw near in soul and body to Bethlehem, that we may behold the fearful dispensation of the birth of the Lord” (Ode Five of the Canon).

In other hymns we chant today:

"Today the Church rejoices, sings and adorns herself. Truly she celebrates the Forefeast of the Nativity of the Savior." "Christ is drawing near, the Star already shines, the heavenly multitude of the host of spiritual powers bows down". "Shake the sleep of laziness from your eyes, all the faithful, be vigilant in prayer, shun the temptation of the evil one, and with the shepherds behold the glory of Christ who comes to be born". "Let us spurn the passions of the flesh and let us abandon the delights of the world. Let us hold fast to thoughts of the wisdom of God, and let us worthily offer ourselves by our good deeds to the newborn Master". "Faith instead of gold, love instead of myrrh, action instead of incense, let us offer to the Creator, who came for us all".

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 Third 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.