Mor_Ephrem_iconThe first year of our Redeemer’s birth
is the source of blessings and foundation of life.
For by it are borne a multitude of victories
and the sum of helps.
As the first day “in the beginning”
the great pillar of the creation
bears the building of the creation,
so the first-born day bears the help for humanity.

Blessed is Your birth that makes all Creation glad!

In the second year of our Redeemer’s birth
the Magi are glad, the Pharisees are gloomy,
treasures are opened, kings are hastening,
and infants are slain.
For in it are offered in Bethlehem
desirable and fearful gifts.
For love offered gold,
but envy offered infants by the sword.

Blessed is Your birth that makes all Creation glad!

The day of the All-Illuminating is glad at His birth.
It is a pillar of rays that pursues with its beams
the works of darkness in a type of that day
on which the light was created
and tore away the darkness
spread over the beauty of creation.
The ray of our Redeemer’s birth
entered and tore away the darkness upon the heart.

Blessed is Your birth that makes all Creation glad!

The first day, the source and beginning,
is a type of the root that germinated everything.
Much greater than it is our Redeemer’s day planted in the universe.
For His death is like a root inside the earth,
His resurrection like the summit in heaven,
His words extend in every direction like branches,
and like His fruit is His body for those who eat it.

Blessed is Your birth that makes all Creation glad!

Let the second day sing praise on the birth
of the Son, the Second, and the Voice of the First.
He commanded the firmament and it came into existence;
He divided the waters from above,
and He gathered the seas below.
He Who separated the waters from the waters
separated from the Watchers and came down to humankind.
Instead of the waters He commanded and they were gathered,
He let flow a source of water and gave it to drink.

Blessed is Your birth that makes all Creation glad!

Let the third day weave with hymns
a crown of psalms and offer it with one voice
for the birth of Him Who made flowers and blossoms grow
on the third day.
But now He Who makes all things grow,
came down and became a Holy Blossom.
From the thirsty earth He sprouted, and He went up
to adorn and crown the victorious.

Blessed is Your birth that makes all Creation glad!

Let the fourth day confess fourfold
the birth of Him Who created on the fourth day
the pair of luminaries that fools worship
and they are blind and unseeing.
He, the Lord of the luminaries, came down,
and like the sun He shone on us from the womb.
His radiances have opened the eyes of the blind;
His rays have enlightened the straying.

Blessed is Your birth that makes all Creation glad!

Ephrem the Syrian (c.306-373): Twenty-Sixth Hymn of the Nativity from Ephrem the Syrian: Hymns, translated by Kathleen McVey, preface by John Meyendorff [Paulist Press, 1989])

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