Forefeast of the Nativity of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ
LET US celebrate, O ye people, the Forefeast of the Nativity of Christ, and raising our minds on high let us go in spirit to Bethlehem; and with the eyes of our soul let us look upon the Virgin, as she hastens to the cave to give birth to our God, the Lord of all. Joseph, when he beheld the greatness of this wonder, thought that he saw a mortal wrapped as a babe in saddling clothes; but from all that came to pass he understood that it was the true God, who grants the world great mercy.
God shall come from Teman, and the Holy One from the mountains overshadowed by the forest (Hab. 3.3).
Let us celebrate, O ye people, the Forefeast of the Nativity of Christ, and raising our minds on high let us go in spirit to Bethlehem; and let us look upon the great mystery in the cave. For Eden is opened once again, when from a pure Virgin God comes forth, perfect in His divinity as in His manhood. Therefore let us cry: Holy God, Thou Father without beginning; Holy and Mighty, Thou Son made flesh; Holy and Immortal, Thou Spirit the Comforter; Holy Trinity, glory to Thee.
O Lord, I have heard the report of Thee and was afraid: Lord, I considered Thy works and was amazed (Hab. 3.1-2).
Hearken, O heaven, and give ear, O earth: for behold, the Son and Word of God the Father comes forth to be born of a Maiden who has not known man, by the good pleasure of the Father who begat Him impassibly, and by the co-operation of the Holy Spirit. Make ready, O Bethlehem: throw open thy gate, O Eden. For He who is, comes to be that which He was not, and He who formed all creation takes form, granting the world great mercy.
—Forefeast of the Nativity of Christ, Vespers