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Orthodox Christmas in Bethlehem

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“For unto us is born a young Child, the pre-eternal God.”

Orthodox Christmas services in Bethlehem are both remembrance of historical events there as well as thanksgiving for their meaning. An infant who is God of all creation came into the world to fulfill sacred history. Poor shepherds were the first to worship this Child born of a Virgin in a rough grotto. Wise men followed a star from the east to honor this wonder: the divine in human flesh. Through the One God’s ultimate revelation in this birth, humanity had a new meaning, an inseparable link with the divine.

Let heaven and earth today make glad prophetically. Angels and men, let us keep spiritual feast. For God, born of a woman, has appeared in the flesh to those that sit in darkness and shadow. A cave and a manger have received Him. Shepherds announce the wonder; Magi from the east offer gifts in Bethlehem. Let us, then, from our unworthy lips offer praise like the angels: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace. For the Expectation of the nations has come, He has come and saved us from the bondage of the enemy. (John the Monk)

A great and marvelous wonder has come to pass this day. A Virgin bears child, and her womb suffers no corruption. The Word is made flesh, yet ceases not to dwell with the Father. Angels and shepherds give glory, and with them we cry aloud: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace. (Germanos)

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