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Monday, January 7, 2019

   “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.’ When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet: ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel.’’ Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared; and he sent t...

Friday, December 21, 2018

     “Prepare, O Bethlehem, for Eden has been opened to all! / Adorn yourself, O Ephratha, for the tree of life blossoms forth from the Virgin in the cave! / Her womb is a spiritual paradise planted with the Divine Fruit: / If we eat of it, we shall live forever and not die like Adam. / Christ is coming/being born (γεννᾶται) to restore (ἀναστήσων) the image/icon (εἰκόνα) which He made in the beginning!” (Troparion-hymn, Forefeast of Nativity)

     Christ comes into our world to turn things around; to transfigure the previously death-bringing into the life-bringing. He comes and creates in us a new “spiritual paradise,” gifting us a new kind of productivity, by His grace, in which His word “blossoms forth” from us in ever-new ways. As He promises anyone who believes in Him, “t...

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