As another Christmas gift, during this period of preparation for Christmas, I would like to offer some verses (troparia) from the Canon of Christmas, a beautiful set of hymns sung during Orthros. These hymns are small poetical gems through which we get glances of the depth of the mystery of the Incarnation.

Christ is born! Glorify Him!

Ode 1

 

Christ is born: glorify Him! Christ has come down from heaven: receive Him! Christ is now on earth; exalt Him! O earth, sing to the Lord! O nations, praise Him in joy, for He has been glorified!

Man fell from the divine life of grace. though made in the image and likeness of God, he became completely subject to corruption and decay through sin. but now the wise Creator re-creates man again, for He has been glorified.

When He saw man perishing, whom He ahd made with His own hands, the Creator bowed the heavens and came down. He took man’s nature from the pure Virgin and He truly became a man, for He has been glorified.

Ode 3

To the Son, born of the Father before all ages and without any change, to Christ our god who in these times was pleased to be incarnate of the Virgin Mary, let us lift up our voices an dsay, “Holy are You, O Lord: You have lifted us up from our fallen state!”

Though formed from dust, Adam shared in the breath of life from God; yet through the beguilement of a woman, he slipped and fell into corruption. but now, seeing Christ born of a woman, he cries aloud: “For my sake, You have become like me! Holy are You, O Lord!”

O Christ, You became a creature made of the clay from the earth; by sharing in our human nature, You made us share in Your divine nature. You became a mortal man, but You are still God. Holy are You, O Lord: You have lifted us up from our fallen state!”

People talk about the “meaning” of Christmas as love or peace or family or presents. How many of us think of the meaning of Christmas as “re-creation”, that by becoming a human being God is renewing human nature, He is making us over again by making Himself in our image and likeness. Unless we appreciate the tranformation brought about by the Incarnation, then we have missed the entire point of Christmas. As Orthodox Christians we need to reclaim the “true meaning of Christmas”!

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