Rejoicing in the Nativity 2014

The Preaching of the Prophets Has Reached Its Fulfillment

Saint Andrew of Crete comments, “Of thee, O Mary, all interpreters of the Spirit saing.” Nowhere in the divinely inspired Scripture can one look without seeing some allusion to her. “Rejoice, Mediatress of the law and of grace, seal of the Old and New Testaments, clear fulfillment of the whole of prophecy, of the truth of Scriptures inspired by God, the living and most pure book of God and the Logos in which, without voice or writing, the Writer Himself, God and Logos, is everyday read.” Saint Gregory Palamas thought that “all divinely inspired Scripture was written because of the Virgin who brought forth God incarnate.”

Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church, December. Holy Apostles Convent, Buena Vista, Colorado.

Creation is Renewed and Led to Its Former Beauty

Saint Kyril of Alexandria writes that “she bore Emmanuel, Who is truly God. ‘And the Logos became flesh [Jn. 1:14]’ and was born according to the flesh so that we might be found to be brothers of Him Who is above all creation.” He also writes in another letter about Him Who was ineffably begotten of the Father before all ages and finally born as man from a woman, that He is one person and not two.

Orthodox theology of the incarnation is clear in the Church’s hymnology. Saint Joseph the Hymnographer chants: “The Son of the Father…has appeared to us…to give light to those in darkness and to gather the dispersed. Therefore, the far-famed Theotokos do we magnify.” This hymnographer also writes that Mary Theotokos ushered in our renewal, thus: “Like a lily, like a fragrant rose, like a divine scent did the all-divine Logos find thee, O all-pure bride of God; and He made His abode within thy womb, making fragrant our nature which had been full of fetor through sin.” Thus, “in the fullness of time, He raised up man who of old had grievously fallen, leading him up to his pristine beauty.”

Saint Germanos writes: “The express image of the Father [Heb. 1:3], the imprint of His eternity, takes the form of a servant, and, without undergoing change, He comes forth from a mother who knew not wedlock. For what He was, He has remained, true God: and what He was not, He has taken upon Himself, becoming Man through love for mankind.”

Saint John of Damascus chants of our renewal saying that, though Christ did not depart from His own nature, He nonetheless shared in our substance. “A most glorious mystery is accomplished today: nature is renewed, and God becomes Man. What He was, He has remained; and what He was not, He has taken on Himself without suffering commingling or division.”

The Only-begotten of the Father, even after His nativity in the flesh, has remained one in essence with the Father and the Spirit. From the Canon of the Forefeast, we chant: “In the strength of Thy divinity Thou hast been joined with mortal men, through a union without confusion, O Savior, in the likeness of the flesh of Adam; and in thus assuming human nature Thou dost bestow upon it immortality and salvation.”

Saint Romanos rejoices, chanting: “The Creator is come, raising up mankind from the earth, making His royal image new again! Rejoice together, ye hosts on high, and chant! The middle-wall of enmity is broken down! He is come Who accomplished this! For God becometh Man, the King of Israel!”

For Saint Joseph the Hymnographer, the role of Mary is clear when he chants: “Through thine incorrupt birth-giving, O august one, thou hast clothed with the garment of incorruption all those denuded through corruption.” He then says that she is the heavenly ladder by which God the Logos communicated with men; she is the wound inflicted on demons, the salvation of men, and the ornament of angels.

Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church, December. Holy Apostles Convent, Buena Vista, Colorado.