(January 6, Older Calendar)

O Christ what shall we offer You;

for our sake You appeared on earth as man?

Every creature made by You offers thanks to You.

The angels offer You a hymn; the heavens, a star;

the Magi, gifts; the shepherds, their wonder;

the earth, its cave; the wilderness, the manger:

and we offer You a Virgin Mother.

O pre-eternal God, have mercy on us.”

(Great Vespers, Nativity in the Flesh of Our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ)

Finally, those of us on the Older Calendar are entering into the great feast of the birth, according to the flesh, (not the pre-eternal birth, of the Father), of our Saviour in Bethlehem. What do “we” offer Him on this occasion? We offer Him one of us, – a human, Virgin Mother, who gives birth to Him in the flesh. In her we offer Christ ourselves, as human birth-givers to the Word in this world. Because the Most Holy Theotokos is one of us, to whom the Lord “appeared on earth as man,” we participate in her vocation, each of us in our own way.

Let me offer myself up today to receive Christ, Who “for our sake appeared on earth as man.” May He be born and shine through, rather than be obscured, in my life, my relationships, and my various responsibilities. “Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One (τὸν ὑπερούσιον, пресущественнаго).” And indeed, today the Mother Church, and each of us as members thereof, gives birth to the Transcendent One. Glory be to Him!