IT is truly right, O Theotokos, to bless thee
The ever-blessed and the all-pure
And the mother of our God.
Greater in honour than the cherubim
And beyond compare more glorious than the seraphim,
Without corruption thou gavest birth to God the Word.
Truly the Theotokos, we magnify thee.
Vassilis Tsabropoulos – Hymn I (Axion Esti)
COME, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.
THE oracle of Isaiah is being fulfilled: for behold, the Virgin bears in her womb, circumscribed by a body, the one who cannot be contained anywhere, and she is eager to bring him wonderfully into the world. Make thyself ready, O cave, to receive God; prepare thyself O Bethlehem. For the King has chosen thee to himself for a dwelling place. O manger, welcome him in his swaddling bands, the infant Christ who comes in goodness to break the bonds of man’s failings.
HOW lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young — a place near your altar, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.
PALACE of the King, filled with light, how hast thou entered a tiny Cave to bear the King, the Lord, incarnate for us, O All-holy Virgin, Bride of God?
THE bright and living cloud who bears the heavenly rain, is now bringing him forth to shower upon the earth, so that he might water the face of it. The spiritual swallow holds in her inmost parts the springtime of grace, by what means no man can say, she gives birth to him who scatters the winter of godlessness. A new thing the pure and unstained Palace brings: a King taking bodily form in a cave.
WHEN you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.
THOU O Master named thyself with thy servants upon the record of our mistakes, wishing to tear it up and (though by the serpent’s fraud we had been made dead,) enrol us in the book of life. For the Virgin bears thee, who bears all, wrapped about in mortal flesh, and well-pleased to lodge in a tiny cave. Ranks of angels from on high sing thy praises, with godly shepherds, astonished at thy might.
At Vespers for December 23. Source.