As Iron Sharpens Iron

An ongoing and online discussion between: an Orthodox informed Ecumaniac without a denominational home, an ordained Baptist youth pastor with an open mind, a Calvinist worship leader/seminarian with a staggering vocabulary and ability to make a point, and a cradle Catholic with a love/hate relationship to Rome.

Friday, December 28, 2007

St. Romanos the Melodist Christmas Hymn

Today the Virgin gives birth to him who is above all being,
and the earth offers a cave to him whom no one can approach.
Angels with shepherds give glory,
and magi journey with a star,
for to us there has been born

a little Child, God before the ages. (Isaias 9.5, Psalm 73(74).12.)

Bethlehem has opened Eden, come, let us see;
we have found delight in secret, come, let us receive
the joys of Paradise within the cave.
There the unwatered root (A double allusion to Isaias 11.1 and the virgin birth.)
whose blossom is forgiveness has appeared.
There has been found the undug well
from which David once longed to drink. (2 Kingdoms (2 Samuel) 23.13-17, 1 Chronicles 11.17-19)
There a virgin has borne a babe
and has quenched at once Adam’s and David’s thirst.
For this, let us hasten to this place where there has been born

a little Child, God before the ages

The mother’s Father has willingly become her Son,
the infants’ saviour is laid as an infant in a manger.
As she who bore him contemplates him, she says,
"Tell me, my Child, how were you sown, or how were you planted in me?
I see you, my flesh and blood, and I am amazed,
because I give suck and yet I am not married.
And though I see you in swaddling clothes,
I know that the flower of my virginity is sealed,
for you preserved it when, in your good pleasure, you were born

a little Child, God before the ages.

"High King, what have you to do with beggars?
Maker of heaven, why have you come to those born of earth?
Did you love a cave or take pleasure in a manger?
See, there is no place for your servant in the inn,
I do not say a place, not even a cave,
for that too belongs to another.
To Sara, when she bore a child, (Isaac, the beloved son of Abraham, is one of the most frequent types of Christ.)
a vast land was given as her lot. To me, not even a fox hole. (Matthew 8.20.)
I used the cavern where willingly you made your dwelling,

a little Child, God before the ages."

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