Dear and faithful Orthodox Christians,
We shared so many joyous blessings on the Feast of Saint Barbara and our patronal Feast of Saint Nicholas. Our celebrations for the Feasts were magnified as we were joined by our Metropolitan Gregory, our Elder Abbott Isaac of Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Father Pedros, Father Sergey and Father Protodeacon George. May Our Saviour bless all those who were able to attend and all those who assisted with readying of the Church, preparing meals, and providing hospitality to our visiting friends and clergy.
Behold now our Salvation is at hand
And now the holy Church enters into the Festive time of the Nativity of Our Saviour, inviting each of us to worship the Lord Jesus Christ in the sacred Services. Give rest to your soul and allow some of the typical activities of the days fall away, to attend the Services, to receive the grace of God. Let us all prepare and draw nigh to Bethlehem, as hymns of the Forefeast declare:
“Behold now the time of our salvation is near at hand. Prepare, O cave; the Virgin draweth nigh to give birth… behold Christ cometh, that He might save mankind whom He fashioned.”
“Raising our minds on high, let us be taken up in spirit unto Bethlehem, and with the eyes of our soul, let us look upon the Virgin, as she maketh haste unto the cave to give birth to the Lord of all and our God.”
At the Royal Hours on Friday, January 5th which begins at 6:30pm, we will hear the Psalms and Prophecies of Christ’s birth. More than 600 years before God’s coming upon the earth, it was prophesied by the Prophet Jeremias.
“This is our God, and there shall none other be accounted of in comparison of Him. He hath found out all the way of knowledge, and hath given it unto Jacob His child, and to Israel His beloved. Afterward, He was seen upon earth, and lived among men.”
Our celebration of the Vigil of Nativity begins at 5pm on Saturday, January 6th. For Orthodox Christians, this is our night watch of prayer, readings, and sacred chants, waiting upon God, and receiving already the grace and joy in the holy night of the Great Feast. This hymn of the Vigil announces the joy of the Feast:
“Come, ye faithful, let us see where Christ the Saviour hath been born; let us follow with the kings, even the Magi from the East, unto the place where the star doth direct their journey.”
“Today Christ is born of the Virgin in Bethlehem. Today the Beginningless beginneth, and the Word is made flesh. The powers of the Heavens rejoice, and the earth together with men is glad… Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men.”
This year for the Divine Liturgy for Nativity, our Service will be at 9am on Sunday, January 7th. Celebrating together in the sacred Mystery of Holy Communion, chanting the hymns of Christ’s birth, we will then enjoy a festive meal together with caroling.
May Our God bless us in all these celebrations, and may He receive our worship and join it together with the Angels in Heaven. And may He enlighten us, for Our Salvation hath come. Christ is born! Glorify Him.