Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Nativity of Our Lord

The vigil of Christmas has its own proper solemnity at Prime in the announcement of Christ's birth. In some monasteries the cantor, vested in alb and violet cope, setps into the choir, accompanied by torches and thurible. He censes the Martyrology on the violet covered lectern, and after announcing the date, lifts his voice to sing. All stand with him, as at the Gospel, and at the phrase "in Bethlehem" they kneel, and at the words "the Birth of our Lord" all prostrate themselves for the first adoration of the Son of God become man.

In the year 5199 since the creation of the world
when God made heaven and earth;
In the year 2957 since the Flood;
In the year 2015 since Abraham's birth;
In the year 1510 since the exodus of the people of Israel
from Egypt under the staff of Moses;
In the year 1032 since David was anointed King;
In the 65th week of years according to Daniel's prophecy;
In the 194th Olympiad in the year 732
after the building of Rome;
In the 42nd year of the reign of Octavian Augustus
when there was peace in the whole world;
In the 6th era of the world's history;
Jesus Christ, eternal God and Son of the Eternal Father,
desired to sanctify the world by His gracious coming
and was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and now, after nine months,
He is born at Bethlehem,
of the tribe and line of Judah,
as Man, of the Virgin Mary.
The Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ in the flesh!

Wonderful the dignity thou has bestowed, O God upon the human nature, when thy hand wrought creation to bring man into being -- yet more wonderful still the condition of humanity when, by thy grace, thou didst bring recreation to thy creation. Grant, we pray thee, that as Jesus Christ, they dear Son, stooped low to share our human nature, so we, by thy grace, might share in His divine nature. Through the same Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord, who livest and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, sharing thy life and kingly power, as one godhead supernal, from all eternity into all eternity. Amen

We Praise You, Jesus, at Your Birth

1 We praise You, Jesus, at Your birth;
Clothed in flesh You came to earth.
The virgin bears a sinless boy
And all the angels sing for joy.

2 Now in the manger we may see
God’s Son from eternity,
The gift from God’s eternal throne
Here clothed in our poor flesh and bone.

3 The virgin Mary’s lullaby
Calms the infant Lord Most High.
Upon her lap content is He
Who keeps the earth and sky and sea.

4 The Light Eternal, breaking through,
Made the world to gleam anew;
His beams have pierced the core of night,
He makes us children of the light.

5 The very Son of God sublime
Entered into earthly time
To lead us from this world of cares
To heaven’s courts as blessed heirs.

6 In poverty He came to earth
Showing mercy by His birth;
He makes us rich in heav’nly ways
As we, like angels, sing His praise.

7 All this for us our God has done
Granting love through His own Son.
Therefore, all Christendom, rejoice
And sing His praise with endless voice.


Rev. John Frahm said...

Is that according to Ussher's chronology?

Chris said...

The Orthodox who use the Western Rite do this as well and sometimes, even in Latin, which is really cool, especially when it is a RUSSIAN priest celebrating it.

IggyAntiochus said...

The "Calens," I believe they are called, are proclaimed at the beginning of the Christmas Midnight Mass at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago. I don't think they do incense at this point, but the deacon steps into the lectern before the procession and opening hymn and chants the Calens. The service is probably broadcast on WGN Cable.