Ephraim, Apapphrat 1213
1213 (Compare Hymn II). For the Epiphany).
1). In the days of the King whom they called by the name of Semha,1 our Lord sprang up among the Hebrews: and Semha and Denha2 ruled, and came, King upon earth, and Son in Heaven; blessed be His rule!
2. In the days of the king who enrolled men in the book of the dead, our Redeemer came down and enrolled men in the book of the living. He enrolled, and they also: on high He enrolled us, on earth they enrolled Him. Glory to His Name!
3. In the days of the king whose name was Semha, the type and the Reality met together, the king and the King, Semha and Denha. His Cross upon His shoulders, was the sign of His Kingdom. Blessed be He Who bare it.
4. Thirty years He went in poverty upon the earth! The sounds of praise in all their measures let us twine, my brethren, to the years of the Lord, as thirty crowns to the thirty years. Blessed be His Birth!
5. In the first year, that is chieftain over the treasures and Dispenser of abundant blessings, let the Cherubim who bare up the Son in glory,3 praise Him with us! He left His glory, and toiled and found the sheep that was lost. To Him be thanksgiving!
6. In the second year, let the Seraphim praise Him yet more with us. They that had proclaimed the Son Holy,4 by and by saw Him when He was reviled among the gainsayers; He bore the contempt and taught praise. To Him be Glory!
7. In the third year, let Michael and his followers, that ministered to the Son in the highest, praise Him with us. They saw Him on the earth when He was ministering, washing feet, cleansing souls. Blessed be His lowliness!
8. In the fourth year, let the whole earth praise Him with us. It is but small for the Son, and it marvelled because it saw that it entertained Him in its bed that is so very mean. He filled the bed, and filled the Heaven. To Him be Majesty!
9. In the fifth year, the Sun shone unto the earth. With its breath let it praise our Sun Who brought His breadth down low, and humbled His mightiness, that the subtle eye of the unseen soul might be able to look upon Him. Blessed be His brightness!
10. In the sixth year again, let the whole air praise Him with us, in whose wide space it is that all things are made glorious, which saw its mighty Lord that had become a little Child in a little bosom. Blessed be His dignity!
11. In the seventh year, the clouds and winds rejoiced with us and sprinkled the dews over the flowers, for they saw the Son who enslaved His brightness and received disgrace and foul spitting. Blessed be His Redemption!
12. In the year also that is eighth, let the fields give praise, that suckle their fruits from His fountains. They worshipped because they saw the Son in arms and the pure One sucking pure milk. Blessed be His good pleasure!
13. In the ninth year, let the earth glorify the might of her Creator, Who laid seed in her in the beginning that she might bring forth all her produce; for it saw Mary, a thirsty land, who yielded the fruit of a Child that was a wonder, yea, a marvel). [Then] it praised Him more exceedingly, for that He was a great Sea of all good things. To Him be exaltation!
14. In the tenth year, let the mount Sinai glorify Him, it which trembled before its Lord. It saw that they took up stones against its Lord; He received stones, Who should build His Church upon a Stone.5 Blessed be His building!
15. In the eleventh year, let the great sea praise the fists of the Son that measured it,6 and it was astonished and saw that He came down, was baptized in a small water, and cleansed the creatures. Blessed be His noble act!
16. In the twelfth year, let the holy Temple praise Him, that saw the Child when He sat amongst the old men: the priests were silent when the Lamb of the Feast bleated in His feast. Blessed be His propitiation!
17. In the thirteenth year, let the crowns praise with us the King who conquered, that died and was crowned with a crown of thorns, and bound upon Adam a great crown at His right hand. Blessed be His Apostleship!
18. In the fourteenth year, let the passover in Egypt praise the Passover that came and passed over all, and instead of Pharaoh sunk Legion,7 instead of horses choked the devil. Blessed be His vengeance!
19. In the fifteenth year, let the lamb of the gluttons praise Him: since our Lord was so far from slaughtering it as Moses did, that He even redeemed mankind with His own Blood. He that feeds all, died for all. Blessed be His Father!
20. In the sixteenth year, let the wheat praise by its type that Husbandman,8 Who sowed His Body in the barren earth, since it covers all, spreads itself out and yields new Bread. Blessed be the Pure One!
21. In the seventeenth year, let the Vine praise the Lord that garnished it. He planted a vineyard, souls were as vineplants. He gave peace to the vineyard, but destroyed the vineyard that brought forth wild grapes. Blessed be its Uprooter!
22. In the eighteenth year, let the Vine which the wild boar out of the wood had eaten, praise the True Vine which trimmed Himself, and kept His fruit, and brought the fruits to the Lord of the Vineyard.9 Blessed be His Vintage!
23. In the nineteenth year, let our leaven praise the true leaven which worked itself in among those that were in error, and drove them all together, and made them one mind by one Doctrine. Blessed be thy doctrine!
24. In the twentieth year, let salt praise Thy living Body, wherewith are salted the bodies and the souls of all the faithful, and faith is the salt of men wherewith they are preserved.10 Blessed be Thy preserving!
25. In the twenty-first year, let the waters of the desert praise Thee. They are sweet to them afar off, they are bitter to them11 that are near, who did not minister to Him. The [chosen] people and the nations were bitter in the desert, and He destroyed them. They were sweetened by the Cross which redeemed them. Blessed be Thy pleasantness!
26. In the twenty-second year, let arms and the sword praise Thee: they sufficed not to kill our adversary. It was Thou that killed him, even Thou who didst fix the ear on, which Simon’s sword cut off. Blessed be Thy healing!
27. In the twenty-third year, let the ass praise Him, that gave its foal for Him to ride on, that loosed the bonds, that opened the mouth of the dumb, that opened also the mouth of the wild asses12 when the race of Hagar gave a shout of praise.13 Blessed be the praise of Thee!
28. In the twenty-fourth year, let the Treasury praise the Son. The treasures marvelled at the Lord of treasures, when in the house of the poor He was increasing, Who made Himself poor that He might enrich all.14 Blessed be Thy rule!
29. In the twenty-fifth year, let Isaac praise the Son, for by His goodness he was rescued upon the Mount from the knife, and in his stead there was the victim, the type of the Lamb for the slaughter.15 The mortal escaped, and He that quickens all died.16 Blessed be His offering!
30. In the twenty-sixth year, let Moses praise Him with us, for that he was afraid and fled from his murderers. Let him praise the Lord that bore the spear and that received the nails in His hands, in His feet. He entered into hell and spoiled it,17 and came forth. Blessed be Thy Resurrection!
31. In the year which is the twenty-seventh, let the eloquent speakers praise the Son, for they found no cloke to save our cause. He was silent in the judgment-hall, and He carried our cause. Honour be to Him!
32. And in this year let all judges praise Him, who, as being just men, killed the ungodly; let them praise the Son who died for the wicked, as being good. Though Son of the Just One, He gave them all manner of good things in abundance. Blessed be His bowels of mercy!
33. In the eight and twentieth year, let all mighty men of valour praise the Son, because they delivered not from him who took us captive. He only is to be praised, who being slain showed us life.18 Blessed be His delivery!
34. In the twenty-ninth year, let Job praise Him with us, who bore sufferings for himself, and our Lord bore for us the spitting and the spear, and the crown of thorns, and scourges, contempt and reproach, yea mocking. Blessed be His mercy!
35. In the year that is thirteenth, let the dead praise Him with us, because they are quickened, and the living, because they have turned to repentance,19 because height and depth were set at one by Him. Blessed be He and His Father!
1 I.e., August.
2 I.e., Dayspring.
3 (Ps 99,1.
4 (Is 6,2 Mt 26,53 1Tm 3,16,
6 (Is 40,12,
7 (Mc 5,9 Lc 8,30,
8 (Jn 12,24,
9 (Jn 18,9,
10 (Mc 9,49,
11 (Ex 15,25
12 (Gn 16,12,
13 (Ac 2,11,
14 (2Co 8,9,
15 (He 11,19,
16 (Is 53.
17 (Is 49,24,
18 (Ap 5,9,
19 (Ml 4,6,
1214 (Resp.—Blessed be he who became beyond measure low, that he might make us beyond measure great)
1. Of the Birth of the Firstborn, let us tell on His Feast-day.1 —He gives on His day, secret comforts.—If the unclean King at his feast, in memory of his day,—gave the gift of wrath, the head in a charger,—how much more shall the Blessed, give blessings to him—who sings praise at His Feast!
2. Let us not count our vigil like vigils of every day.—His feast, its reward, exceeds an hundredfold.—For this feast makes war, on sleep by its vigil;—speaking it makes war, on silence by its voice;—clad with all blessings, it is chief of feasts,—and of every joy.
3. To-day the angels, and the archangels,—descended to sing—a new song on earth. —In this mystery they descend, and rejoice with the vigil-keepers.—At the time when they gave praise, blasphemy abounded.—Blessed be the Birth by which, lo! the world resounds—with anthems of praise.
4. For this is the night that joined, the Watchers on high with the vigil-keepers.—The Watcher came to make watchers in the midst of creation.—Lo! the vigil-keepers are made comrades with the Watchers:—the singers of praise are made, companions of the Seraphs.—Blessed be he who becomes, the harp of Thy praise!—and Thy grace becomes his reward.
5. The Birth then of the Firstborn, I will sing and tell how—the Godhead in the womb wove itself a vesture.—He put it on and came forth in birth, in death again put it off;—once he put it off, twice He put it on.—On the left He wore it, then took it off thence,—and laid it at the right.
6. He dwelt in a narrow bosom, the Might that rules all.—While He was dwelling there, He held the reins of the whole:—to His Father He made offering, that He might fulfil His Will:—Heaven was filled by Him, and every creature.—The Sun entered the womb, and in the height and the depth—his splendour abode.
7. He dwelt in the wide bosoms, of all the creatures;—too narrow to hold, the greatness of the Firstborn.—How then sufficed for it, that bosom of Mary?—Marvellous if it sufficed, bewilderment if it sufficed not.—Of all bosoms that held Him, one bosom sufficed for Him,—His, the Supreme Who begat Him.
8. The bosom that held Him, if it held Him Wholly,—equals the wondrous bosom, of the Supreme Who begat Him.—But who dare say the bosom, that is narrow weak and lowly,—is equal to His, Who is the Supreme Being?—He dwelt there of His mercy, though so great is His Nature:—it is without bound.
9. Reconciling Peace, sent to the nations!—gladdening Brightness, that camest to the sad!—Mighty Leaven in silence, overcoming all!—Patient One that hast taken, man after man in Thy net!—Happy he who has welcomed, thy joy in his heart,—and forgot his groans in Thee!
10. They sounded forth peace, the Watchers to the vigil-keepers.—Among the vigil-keepers the good tidings, were announced by the Watchers.—Who would sleep on that night, which has waked all creatures?—For they bear good tidings of peace, where warfare had been.—Blessed is he who has pleased, the Divine Majesty by his silence,-when speaking moved His wrath!
11. Watchers mixed with watchers, they rejoiced that the world came to life.—The Evil One was shamed who was king, and had woven a crown of lies;—and set up his throne, as God in the world.—The Babe laid in the manger, cast him from his dominion. —The Sun rendered worship, doing Him homage by his Magi;—in his worshippers he worshipped Him.
12. God saw that mankind, worship things created:—He put on a created body, that in our custom He might capture us.—Lo! in this our form, He that formed us healed us;—and in this created shape, our Creator gave us life.—He drew us not by force: blessed be He Who came in ours,—and joined us in His!
13. Who would not marvel, at Mary, David’s daughter,—bearing an infant, and her virginity kept!—She lays Him on her breast, and lulls Him with song and He rejoices. —The Angels raise hymns, the Seraphs cry “Holy,”—the Magi offer, acceptable gifts,-to the Son Who is born.
14. O great above measure, immeasurably made low,—praised beyond praises, debased to humiliation!—the tender mercies laid on Thee, bowed Thee down to all this;—let Thy grace bow me down, though evil to give praise!—Happy he who becomes, a fountain of voices,—all praising Thee in all!
15. He was servant on earth; He is Lord in Heaven.—Heir of height and depth, He became a stranger:—Whom men judged in guile, He is judge in truth:—He Whose face they spat on, breathes His Spirit on theirs:—He Who held the frail reed, is become the staff of the world,—which grows old and leans on Him.
16. He Who rose to wait on His servants, now sits to be worshipped.—Whom the scribes despised, before Him Seraphs cry “Holy.”—This praise Adam desired, to steal privily.—The serpent which made him fall, saw to what height he was raised:—he crushed it because it deceived him; the feet of Eve trod it down,—which had sent venom into her ears.
17. The wife proved barren, and withheld her fruit;—but the bosom of Mary, holily conceived.—To wonder at fields, and to admire plants—she needed not who received, and rendered what she borrowed not.—Nature confessed its defeat; the womb was aware of it,—and restored what Nature gave not.
18. Mary was defeated, in the judgment by Elizabeth.—She that was barren pleaded, that the Will which prevailed—to close the open door, has opened the closed.—He has made childless the married womb; He has made fruitful the virgin womb.—Because the People were accurst faithless, He made her that was married,—held from bearing before the face of the maiden.
19. He Who could give moisture, to breasts barren and dead,—caused them to fail in youth, made them to flow in age;—forced and changed nature, in its season and out of its season.—The Lord of natures changed, the Virgin’s nature.—Because the People were barren, He made her that was aged,—a mouth on behalf of the damsel.
20. And as He began at birth, He went on and fulfilled in death.—His Birth received worship; His Death paid the debt.—As He came to His Birth, the Magi worshipped Him;—again He came to His Passion, and the thief sought refuge in Him—Between His Birth and Death, midway He set the world:—in birth and Death he gave it life.
21. Thousand thousands stand, and ten thousand thousands haste.—The thousands and ten thousands, cannot search out the One:—for all of them stand, in silence to serve.—He has no heir of His Throne, save the Son Who is of Him.—In the midst of silence is the enquiry into Him, when the watchers come to search Him out,—they attain to silence and are stayed.
22. The Firstborn entered the womb, and the pure Virgin was not harmed.—He stirred and came forth in her travail, and the fair Mother was troubled by Him.-Glorious and unseen in entering, humble and manifest in issuing;—for He was God in entering, and He was man in issuing.—A marvel and bewilderment to hear: fire entered the womb; put on a body and came forth!
23. Gabriel chief of Angels, called Him “My Lord”:—he called Him “My Lord,” to teach that He was his Lord, not his fellow.—Gabriel had with him, Michael as fellow: —the Son is Lord of the servants; exalted is His Nature as His Name.—No servant can search Him out; for the greater the servant,—He is great above His servant.
24. When they stand before Thee, the watchers with songs of praise,—they know not in what part, they shall discern Thee.—They have sought Thee above in the height; they have seen Thee below in the depth:—they have searched for Thee in the midst of heaven; they have seen Thee in the midst of the abyss:—they have discerned Thee beside Him that is worshipped; they have found Thee in the midst of the creatures: —they have come down to Thee and sung Glory to Thee.
25. Thou art all wonderful, in all parts where we seek Thee.—Near art Thou,—and far, and who may attain to Thee?—No seeking avails, that its stretch should reach unto Thee.—Whereon it stretches to reach Thee, it is checked and stops,—it falls short of Thy mountain; Faith reaches thither,—and Love with prayer.
26. The Magi also sought Him, and in the manger when they found Him,—instead of scrutiny worship, they offered Him in silence;—for empty strivings, oblations gave they Him.—Seek thou too the Firstborn, and if thou find Him in the height,—instead of troubled questionings, open thy treasures before Him,—and offer Him thy works.
Resp. —Blessed is He above all in His Birth! (bis).
1. Celebrate, O nations, this feast, first fruits of all feasts;—recount the sufferings that were, and the wounds and pains,—that we may know what plagues, He healed,the Son Who was sent.
R., Blessed be He Who sufficed to heal our pains!
2. Celebrate, O saved nations, Him Who saves all in His Birth.—Even my feeble tongue, has become a harp through His mercy.—The excellency of the Firstborn, in His Festival let us sing.
R., Blessed is He Who has made us meet for His Feast!
3. How then can any one, admire a physician,—until he hear and learn, what were the pains he healed?—And when our plagues are proclaimed, then is our Healer magnified.
R., Blessed be He Who is exalted in our pains!
4. Created things were worshipped: because the worshipper was foolish,—he used to worship all things; but One they worshipped not.—He came down therefore in mercy and broke, the yoke that enslaved all.
R., Blessed is He Who loosed our pains!
5. The mercies of the Highest were revealed; He came down and set free His creature.—In this blessed month, wherein are made releases of slaves,—the Lord underwentbondage, to call the bond to freedom.
R., Blessed is He Who brought freedom!6. The Lord of the months chose Him, two months for His doings.—His Conception was in Nisan, and His Birth in Conun.—In Nisan He sanctified them that were conceived; and them that were born He set free in Conun.
R., Blessed be He Who makes glad His months!
7. The Sun revealed in silence, his worshippers to his Lord:—it was grievous to him, a servant, to be worshipped instead of his Lord.—Lo! creation is glad, that the Creator is worshipped.
R., Blessed is the Child that is worshipped.
8. The months wore three crowns, and crowned Him in His triumphs.—Blessed is the Sun for His Birth, and for His Resurrection desired,—and for His Ascension blessed; the months have borne Him crowns.
R., Blessed be He Who has triumphed in His months!
9. Unveil and make glad thy face, O Creature, in our feast.—Let the Church sing with voice; Heaven and earth in silence!—Sing and praise the Child, who has brought release for all!
R., Blessed be He Who has annulled the bonds!
10. When fools did reverence to the Sun, in reverence to him they disgraced him.-But now when all know he is a servant, in his course his Lord is worshipped;—all servants rejoice, that as servants they are reckoned.
R., Blessed be He Who ordered their natures!
11. We have done perverse things, who have become servants of servants.—Lo! our freedom compelled him, a servant, to become lord to us:—the Sun, the servant for all, we have made Lord for all.
R., Blessed is He Who to Himself has turned us!
12. And the Moon too which was worshipped, has been set free by His Birth.—For ’tis strange that by her light, which enlightens the eyes,—by it the eyes were darkened, that they gazed on her as a God.
R., Blessed be the beam that has enlightened us!
13. Fire commended Thy Birth, which drew away worship from it.—The magi used to worship it: they who have worshipped before Thee.—They left it and worshipped its Lord; they exchanged fire for the Fire.
R., Blessed is He Who has bathed us in His light!
14. In place of the senseless fire that eats up its own body of itself,—the magi adored the Fire Who gave His Body to be eaten.—The live coal drew near and sanctified, the lips that were unclean.
R., Blessed is He Who has mixed His Fire in us!
15. Delusion blinded men, to worship created things:—fellow servants were worshipped, and the God of all was wronged.—He Who is to be worshipped came down to His birth, and gathered to himself worship.
R., Blessed is He Who by all is worshipped!
16. The All-knowing saw, that men worship things that were made:—He put on a body that was made, that in our custom He might take us captive,—and by a body that was made, drew us to the Creator.
R., Blessed be He Who drew us with guile!17. The Evil One knew how to harm us; and by lights he blinded us,—by possessions he hurt us, through gold he made us poor,—by the graver’s graven images, he made us a heart of stone.
R., Blessed is He Who came and softened it!
18. They grayed and set up stones, whereon men should stumble.—They set them not on the highway, for the blind to stumble on:—they called them Gods, that on them with open eyes men might stumble.
R., Blessed is He Who exposed the idols which they feared!
19. Sin had spread its wings, and covered all things,—that none could discern, of himself or from above, the truth.—Truth came down into the womb, came forth and rolled away error.
R., Blessed is He Who dispelled Sin by His Birth!20. For Mercy endured not, to see the way hindered.—When He came down for conception, He opened the way and made it easy:—when He came forth in birth, He trod it and marked its miles.
R., Blessed is the peace of Thy Way!
21. He chose the Prophets; they cleared the way for the people:—He sent the Apostles; they smoothed paths for the nations.—The snares of the Evil One were shamed, when feeble men cleared them away.
R., Blessed is He Who made our paths plain!
22. The graven images blinded, their gravers in secret:—they grayed eyes on stone, and darkened the eyes of the soul.—Praise to Thy Birth that opened, the sight that was blinded.
R., Blessed be He Who has restored sight!
23. Let women praise Her, the pure Mary,—that as in Eve their mother,—great was their reproach,—lo! in Mary their sister,—greatly magnified was their honour.
R., Blessed is He Who sprang from women!
24. Let the nations praise Thy Birth, that they have gained eyes to see,—how their wine has made them reel; and they have seen their own humiliation?—They come to know themselves, and worship Him who has rescued them.
R., Blessed is He Who has taught repentance!
25. Its worship mankind—had spread everywhere:—Him Who is to be worshipped it sought not, that worship should be paid Him.—But He endured not—worshippers that err.
R., Blessed is He Who came down and is worshipped!
26. The gold of the idols worshipped Thee, that Thou didst treat it as alms; which availed not apart, for the uses of life.—It hasted to Thy purse, as it had hasted to the manger.
R., Blessed be He Whom Creation has loved!
27. The frankincense worshipped Thy Birth. which had served demons.—It sorrowed then in its vapour: it exulted when it saw its Lord.—Instead of being the incense of delusion, it was an oblation before God!
R., Blessed is Thy Birth which is worshipped!
28. The myrrh worshipped Thee for itself, and for its kindred ointments.—The hands that bore its ointment, had anointed abominable graven images.—To Thee the perfume was sweet, from the anointing wherewith Mary anointed Thee.
R., Blessed is Thy savour which is sweet to us!
29. The gold that had been worshipped worshipped thee, when the magi offered it.—That which had been worshipped in molten images, gave worship to Thee.—With its worshippers it worshipped Thee, it confessed that Thou art He that is to be worshipped.
R., Blessed is He Who claimed worship for Himself!
30. The Evil One fled and his hosts, he that used to exult in the world.—In the high places they sacrificed heifers to him, in the gardens they slew bulls for him.—He swallowed up all creation, he filled his belly with prey.
R., Blessed be He Who came and made him disgorge!
31. Of him the Lord said, that he had fallen from Heaven.—The Abhorred One had exalted himself; from his uplifting he has fallen. The foot of Mary has trod him down, who bruised Eve with his heel.
R., Blessed be He Who by His Birth laid him low!
32. Chaldeans went about, in all places and led astray:—the preachers of delusion, were shamed through the world,—they were shamed and overcome,—by the preachers of truth.
R., Blessed be the Babe Whom they preached!
33. Sin had spread out, her nets for the draught.—Praise be to Thy Birth that captured, the nets of delusion.—The soul took flight on high, which had been taken in the deep.
R., Blessed is He Who prepared for us wings!
34. His Will was able, even by force to rescue us.—But since it was not force that made us guilty, it was not by force He purged us.—The Evil One by enticement enslaved us: Thy Birth enticed to give us life.
R., Blessed be He Who planned and gave us life!
35. The creatures complained that they were worshipped; in silence they sought release.—The All-Releaser heard, and because He endured it not He came down,—put on the form of a servant in the womb, came forth, set free Creation.
R., Blessed be He Who made his Creation his gain!
36. Mercy was kindled on high, at the voice of Creation that cried out:—Gabriel was sent; he came and gave tidings of Thy Conception.—When Thou camest to the Birth, Watchers gave tidings of thy coming forth.
R., Blessed be by Thy Worship above all!
37. For greater is the joy of the Birth than the Conception.—Yea it was one angel, that brought us tidings of Thy Conception:—but in the joy of Thy Birth, a multitude of Watchers brought tidings.
R., Blessed be Thy tidings in Thy day!
38. Glory to Thee I too in Thy day, will offer, O Thou that art worshipped!—Take of the fruit that is mine; and give me mercy which is Thine!—For if the evil that is in me gives gifts, how much more shalt Thou give Who art good!
R., Blessed is Thy wealth in Thy servant!
39. The two things Thou soughtest, in Thy Birth have been done for us.—Our visible body Thou hast put on; Thy invisible might we have put on:—our body has become Thy clothing; Thy Spirit has become our robe.
R., Blessed be He Who has been adorned and has adorned us!
40. Height and depth were amazed, that Thy Birth subdued the rebels.—For that we gave Thee hostages, Thou gavest us the Paraclete:—when the hostages went up from us, the Captain of the host came down to us.
R., Blessed be He Who look away and sent down!
41. Come ye mouths of all and pour forth, and be in the likeness of waters, and wells of voices! May the Holy Spirit come,—and sing glory through us all, to the Father Who has redeemed us through His Son!
R., Blessed is He above all in His Birth!
(Resp.—Glory to all of Thee from all of us! (bis).
1. Who then that is mortal man, can declare concerning the All-Life giver,—Who quilted the height of His Majesty, and abased Himself to humility?—Thou Who exaltest all in Thy Birth, exalt my weak mind,—to declare of Thy Birth; not that I should search out Thy Majesty,—but that I should proclaim Thy grace.
R., Blessed be He Who conceals and reveals in His discourses!
2. It is a great marvel that the Son, dwelt wholly in a body;—abode therein wholly and it sufficed for Him; dwelt therein though not bounded thereby.—His Will was wholly therein; His bounds reached wholly to His Father.—Who is sufficient to tell, how though He dwelt wholly in a body.—He likewise dwelt wholly in all?
R., Blessed is He Who though without bounds was bounded!
3. Thy Majesty is concealed from us; Thy Grace is revealed before us.—I will be silent, O Lord of Thy Majesty; and I will tell of Thy grace.—Thy grace clove to Thee, and bowed Thee down to our vileness:—Thy grace made Thee a babe; Thy grace made Thee man:—it straitened, it enlarged, Thy Majesty.
R., Blessed be the might that became little and became great!
4. Glory to Him Who became lowly, though lofty He was by His nature!—He became in His love the firstborn of Mary, Firstborn though He be of Godhead.—He became in name the offspring of Joseph, offspring though He be of the Most High.— He became by His own Will man, God though He be by His Nature.—Glorified be Thy Will and Thy Nature!
R., Blessed be Thy Glory which put on our image!
5. Yea, O Lord, Thy Birth, has become mother of all creatures; for it travailed anew and gave birth, to mankind which gave birth to Thee. Thou wast born of it bodily; it was born of Thee spiritually.—All that Thou camest for to birth, was that man might be born in Thy likeness.—Thy Birth became the author of birth to all.
R., Blessed be He Who became a youth and to all gave youth!
6. When man’s hope had broken down, hope was increased by Thy Birth.—Good tidings of hope they bore, the Heavenly Ones to men.—Satan who cut off our hope, his own hope by his own hands had cut off.—when he saw that hope was increased: Thy Birth became to the hopeless,—a fountain teaming with hope.
R., Blessed be He Who bore the tidings of hope!
7. The day of Thy Birth is like Thee, for it is desired and loved as Thou.—We who saw not Thy Birth, and its flame as in its own time,—in this Thy day we see Thee, even as Thou wast a babe;—beloved by all men, lo! in Thee the Churches rejoice;—Thy day adorns and is adorned.
R., Blessed be Thy day which was ordained for us!
8. Thy day has given us a gift, to which the Father has none other like;—It was not Seraphim He sent us, nor yet did Cherubim come down among us;—there came not Watchers or Ministers, but the Firstborn to Whom they minister.—Who can suffice to give thanks, that the Majesty which is beyond measure—is laid in the lowly manger!
R., Blessed be He Who gave us what He had won!
9. That generation Thy Birth made glad, and our generation Thy day makes glad: twofold was the happiness of that generation, for they saw Thy Birth and also Thy day:—less is the happiness of them that come after, for the day of Thy Birth they see only.—Yet because they that then were, doubted, greater is the happiness of them that comeafter,—who though they have not seen Thee have believed in Thee.
R., Blessed be Thy happiness that is added to us!10. The Magi exalted from afar; the Scribes murmured near at hand;—the prophet showed his message, and Herod his wrath;—the scribes showed their doctrine, the Magi showed their offerings. It is a marvel that to Him, the Babe, they of His own house hasted with their swords, and they that were strangers with their offerings.
R., Blessed be Thy Birth which has stirred up all!
11. The bosom of Mary amazes me, that it sufficed for Thee, Lord, and embraced Thee.—All creation were too small, to conceal Thy Majesty;—Heaven and earth too narrow, to be in the likeness of wings,2 to cover Thy Godhead.—Too small for Thee was the bosom of earth; great enough for Thee was the bosom of Mary.—He dwelt in the bosom and healed in her bosom.
12. He was wrapped meanly in swaddling clothes, and offerings were offered Him.—He put on garments in youth, and from them there came forth helps: He put on the waters of baptism, and from them there shone forth beams:—He put on linen cloths in death, and in them were shown forth triumphs; with His humiliations. His exaltations.
R., Blessed be He Who joined His Glory to His Passion!
13. All these are the changes of raiment, which Mercy put off and put on,—when He strove to put on Adam, the glory which he had put off.—He was wrapped in swaddling-clothes as Adam with leaves; and clad in garments instead of skins.—He was baptized for Adam’s sin, and buried for Adam’s death:—He rose and raised Adam into Glory.
R., Blessed be He Who came down and clothed him and went up!
14. Though Thy Birth had sufficed, for Adam’s sons as for Adam;—O Mighty One Who didst become a babe, in Thy Birth anew hast Thou begotten me!—O pure One Who wast baptized, let Thy Washing wash away our filth—O Living One who wastburied, may we gain life in Thy death!—I will praise all of Thee in Him that fills all.
R., Glory to all of Thee from all of us!
Ephraim, Apapphrat 1213