Greetings for the Nativity of the Mother of God

Dear brothers and sisters,

Greetings on this joyous feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos, by which the imminence of God’s preparation for the Incarnation in time and space was manifested in the world, after centuries in which His prophets preached the coming of the Messiah, and during which the ancestors of Christ looked forward to “the beginning of our salvation”.

This event was long in preparation, and the culmination of God’s interaction with mankind and creation since the ignominy of the Fall and Adam and Eve’s banishment from Paradise. In her “God-bestown birth”, Adam our first-father offers up his offspring, the Mother of God, whom St Andrew of Crete calls “the most-worthy fruit of mankind”, and in the birth of the Virgin, the first-father and first-mother rejoice,

“For, behold! she who was fashioned of the rib of Adam manifestly blesseth her daughter and descendant, saying: “Deliverance hath been born in me, for which cause I am freed of the bonds of hades!”

(First stikheron of the vesperal litia)

The prophet Isaiah, considered an evangelist-before-the-evangelists by St Jerome, had preached,“Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel”, and on this feast we celebrate the birth of the Virgin, who would be the Gate through which God would enter the world as its Saviour and Redeemer, with the feast – in the words of St Andrew –“as a doorway to grace to grace and truth.”

Rejoicing, we greet the Mother of God – the portal of our salvation – with hymns, heeding the joyful words of the litia doxastikon at vespers:

“On the right excellent day of our feast let us strike the spiritual harp; for the Mother of Life is born today of the seed of David, dispelling the darkness: the renewal of Adam, the restoration of Eve, the Well-spring of incorruption, our release from corruption. Because of her we have been deified and delivered from death. And we, the faithful, cry out to her with Gabriel: Rejoice, thou who art full of grace, the Lord is with thee, granting us great mercy for thy sake!”

May God bless you all on this wonderful feast, as we ask the Mother of God to intercede for all of her children, who greet her Nativity with joyful thanksgiving. And, greeting one another, let us rejoice together, for, lo! the Virgin issueth forth from the womb of the barren woman, unto the salvation of our souls!”

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark