The Nativity of Christ
“May heaven and earth rejoice prophetically this day. May angels and people spiritually celebrate, for God appeared in the flesh to those groping in the darkness and resting in a shadow.”
This is what the Holy Church sings solemnly today proclaiming the joyful news of the Nativity of the Lord to the world.
A great mystery of Incarnation, or the birth in flesh, of the Only-Begotten Son of God, the beloved, was fulfilled today. The darkness of sin was dispelled and the Sun of Righteousness has shone on earth. Sorrow turned to joy. Our hearts are filled with spiritual joy on the feast of the Nativity of Christ. We will bow down before Him together with the shepherds of Bethlehem, share our loving hearts with Him as gifts together with the magi, and join the Angels singing the hymn of praise and thanksgiving: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill towards men!”
In the Incarnation of the Logos, God assumes our human nature and bestows His Divinity upon us. Through the Incarnation of the Logos, man becomes God-like. Through the incarnation of the Logos, man achieves Theosis. “The Logos was incarnate that we might be made god,” wrote the Holy Hierarch Athanasius the Great. “The Son of God became the Son of man to make the sons of God out of the sons of men,” said St. Irinaeus of Lyons. The man, predestined, through the act of creation, to be deified, has lost it in his fall, while the Incarnate Logos delivered it back to the man.
That is why the Nativity of Christ brings the consummate renewal of mankind. Not only in the one and only Nativity that had happened two thousand years ago in Bethlehem but in the birth of Christ happening over and over again in our souls.
To mark the feast of the Nativity of Christ, the Seraphim-Diveyevo monastery held evening services at the Trinity and Transfiguration Cathedrals as well as the churches to the Nativity of Christ and the “Reigning” Icon of the Mother of God. Beginning from midnight, there were several liturgy services served there, including four during the night and one late morning liturgy.
The first church at the monastic community by the mill, founded in Diveyevo by Venerable Seraphim of Sarov, was consecrated to the Nativity of Christ, and so beginning from 1829 this feast is a patronal feast of the Diveyevo monastery.
There were services held in the Church of the Nativity of Christ, including the paraklesis with the blessing of water, as prescribed by the monastery typikon, and the night-time Liturgy followed by the cross procession around the church.