“Christ is born; glorify him! Christ is from heaven; go and meet him! Christ is on earth; be exalted! O All the earth, sing unto the Lord, and people, sing with joy. For He is glorified.” (Ode 1, Byzantine Nativity Canon)
Once again, Christ is born in our hearts; Once again, He gives of Himself as “Bread for the whole world,” as it says in the Byzantine Prayer of the Prothesis, or Preparation of the Gifts, a rite celebrated in the altar by the priest before Divine Liturgy begins. Christ’s coming to us in “Beth-lehem,” meaning in Hebrew “the house of bread,” is thus celebrated and remembered at this “Prothesis Rite” before each Divine Liturgy, which is why an icon or fresco of the Nativity often adorns the Prothesis Table, on which the gifts of bread and wine are prepared for the Eucharist.
So “Christ is from heaven,” and is now “on earth,” accessible to us, to “go and meet Him.” And we do this, we reply to His Self-giving, by giving of ourselves in the Eucharist. We bring our gifts of bread, wine, and ourselves, in body and soul, sharing in His Body and His Soul, at His table.
Let me not be left out today, in this celebration of the unity of heaven and earth, which He makes possible in His glorious Incarnation. Let me suit up and show up, whatever is happening in my life, or whatever calamities are happening in the world, or whichever Herods seek to kill the Child. He is born into it all, taking on our humanity, our pain, and our calamities, as One of us. Let me go and meet Him, as He has come to meet me. “Christ is born; glorify Him!”