more from St. Ephrem

“In Thee will I begin to speak, Thou Head that didst begin all created things. I, even I will open my mouth, but it is Thou that fillest my mouth. I am the earth to Thee, and Thou art the husbandman. Sow Thy voice in me, Thou that sowedst Thyself in the womb of thy Mother. . . .” (Hymn 10)

In December when the nights are long, rose unto us the Day, of Whom there is no bound! In winter when all the world is gloomy, forth came the Fair One Who cheered all in the world! In winter that makes the earth barren, virginity learned to bring forth. In December, that causes the travails of the earth to cease, in it were the travails of virginity. . . .

Glory to that Voice Which became Body, and to the Word of the High One Which became Flesh! Hear Him also, O ears, and see Him, O eyes, and feel Him, O hands, and eat Him, O mouth! . . .

It was by Power from Him that Mary was able to bear in Her bosom Him that bears up all things! It was from the great storehouse of all creatures, Mary gave Him all which she did give Him! She gave Him milk from Himself that prepared it, she gave Him food from Himself that made it! He gave milk unto Mary as God: again He sucked it from her, as the Son of Man. Her hands bare Him in that He had emptied His strength; and her arm embraced Him, in that He had made Himself small. The measure of His Majesty who has measured? He caused His measures to shrink into a Raiment. She wove for Him and clothed Him because He had put off His glory. She measured Him and wove for Him, since He had made Himself little. . . .

The sea when it bore Him was still and calmed, and how came the lap of Joseph to bear Him? The womb of hell conceived Him and was burst open, and how did the womb of Mary contain Him? The stone that was over the grave He broke open by His might, and how could Mary’s arm contain Him? Thou camest to a low estate, that Thou mightest raise all to life! Glory be unto Thee from all that are quickened by Thee! . . . (Hymn 3)

Yea, O Lord, Thy Birth, has become mother of all creatures; for it travailed anew and gave birth, to mankind which gave birth to Thee. Thou wast born of it bodily; it was born of Thee spiritually.-All that Thou camest for to birth, was that man might be born in Thy likeness.-Thy Birth became the author of birth to all. Refrain: Blessed be He Who became a youth and to all gave youth! . . .

Though Thy Birth had sufficed, for Adam’s sons as for Adam;-O Mighty One Who didst become a babe, in Thy Birth anew hast Thou begotten me!-O pure One Who wast baptized, let Thy Washing wash away our filth-O Living One who wast buried, may we gain life in Thy death!-I will praise all of Thee in Him that fills all. Refrain: Glory to all of Thee from all of us! (Hymn 16)

– from St. Ephrem the Syrian’s Hymns of Nativity, from


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