Christ is Born! Glorify Him!
Have you ever read the spiritually rich Akathist Hymn to the Nativity of Christ? It is found in the second volume of the Book of Akthists published by Holy Trinity Monastery. It is worth obtaining this volume if you don’t already own one.
I was particularly moved by the closing prayer of this akathist, which I will share with you here:
O great and unapproachable God, unoriginate Father, Son Who art equally without beginning, and Spirit Who are equally eternal, Who givest being to things which were not in existence, Who savest the perishing, Who givest life to the dead, Who doest what Thou willest among the hosts of heaven and in Thine earthly habitation, and directest all according to Thy wondrous providence! Incline Thine ear from the heights of Thy holiness, and accept from us, Thy lowly and unworthy servants, to whom Thou hast revealed Thy great salvation from misfortunes and plague, these grateful supplications, confessions and glorifications, which we offer to Thee with heart and mouth. For Thou has not dealt with us according to our iniquities, O Lord, neither hast Thou rewarded us according to our sins. Thou didst say of old to the children of Israel that if they would not act to keep Thy words and do all Thy commandments, Thou wouldst bring against them a nation of unashamed countenance, which would assail them in their cities until the walls thereof were broken. And we have come to realize that this dread sentence hath been directed against us and our fathers as well. For, failing to fear Thy threat and paying no heed to Thy lovingkindness, we have forsaken the path of Thy righteousness and walked in the will of our own hearts, and have made no attempt to hold Thee, the God of men’s understanding and hearts, in our mind. Moreover, treating the traditions of our fathers as of no import, we have abandoned Thee for others. For these reasons, grievous ill fortune overtook us as it did the children of Israel of old, and because we paid no heed to their lessons, mindless and savage-minded foes have come against us. But do Thou, O compassionate and merciful Lord God, Who are long-suffering, greatly merciful and true, Who maintainest justice and workest mercy among the thousands, Who takest away iniquities, injustices and sins, having abandoned us for a little time, have mercy upon us according to Thy great mercy, and having visited our unrighteousness with the rod, as a compassionate father doth his children, so do Thou spare us. For Thou has looked down on our tribulation, and upon our entreaties which, trusting not in our own righteousness, but upon Thy many compassions, we cast at Thy feet O Lord; and Thou hast shown us the back of our ungodly adversaries, for melting away before the face of Thy Christ, Thine enemies have vanished like smoke, and those who love Thee shine forth like the rising of the sun in their power. We have seen, O Lord, we have seen, and in us all nations have seen, that Thou are God, and there is none other besides Thee. Thou slayest and makest to live, Thou smitest and healest, and there is no one who can deliver from Thy hand. Wherefore, our heart has been established in our Lord, our horn hath been lifted up in our God, and we have been gladdened in Thy salvation. We thank Thee, O Lord, that, chastizing us, Thou hast chastened us but a little, lest Thou give us over utterly unto death. Grant, O Lord, that we may hold the memory of this, Thy glorious visitation, firmly and continually within us, that made steadfast in Thee by filial fear, faith and love, and protected by Thy might, we may ever, as we do today, hymn and glorify Thy holy name. Confirm Thy blessing also upon our civil authorities, that Thy good Spirit may continually rest upon them. In our land grant holiness unto pastors, judgment and justice to those who govern, peace and tranquility to the people, efficacy to the laws and advancement to the Faith. O Lord of all lovingkindness, extend Thy mercy unto those who know Thee, and reveal Thyself even unto those who seek Thee not; turn the hearts even of our enemies unto Thee; and make Thyself known to all nations and people in Thy true Christ: that from the rising of the sun, even unto the setting thereof, all nations may with one heart cry out to Thee with a voice of rejoicing: Glory to Thee, the God and Saviour of all, unto the ages of ages! Amen.