In winter when all the world is gloomy, forth came the Fair One Who cheered all in the world!

from Hymns of the Nativity No. 3 by St. Ephrem the Syrian

“  . . . 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)

St. Ephrem the Syrian’s Hymns of Nativity, Hymn 3, from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf213.iii.v.iv.html

Nativity Icon from Rockland    http://davidjure.wordpress.com/2011/01/06/orthodox-nativity-icons/ 

Nativity Icon Explained http://www.antiochian.org/icons-explained-nativity 

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