Christ is Born! Glorify Him!


Thy Nativity, O Christ our God,

Has shown to the world the light of wisdom.

For by it those who worshipped the stars,

Were taught by a star to adore Thee,

The Sun of Righteousness.

And to know Thee the Orient from on high,

O Lord, Glory to Thee!

Troparion for Christmas Day

About Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is a priest of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Emeritus of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present and the Glory to God podcast series.





16 responses to “Christ is Born! Glorify Him!”

  1. Dean Arnold Avatar

    Thanks for the quick entry.

    I think you’ve got some other things going on right now!

  2. Dean Arnold Avatar

    When you catch a breath, I would like to hear more about “the Orient from on high.”

    I’ve always been intrigued by the phrase and would like to know how it relates to our use of the “orient” today.

  3. Dean Arnold Avatar

    Okay, I’ll add a Christmas insight for the day even though it’s not my blog.

    In reading Luke 1 and 2 yesterday as a non-protestant, I saw an obvious connection only discernible for those enjoying Holy Tradition.

    As Zachariah is ministering at the altar of incense, Gabriel appears “on the right side” of the altar.

    Of course, Gabriel is announcing the birth of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ. And sure enough, the icon of John appears to us always on the ride side of the iconostasis in every church for all time. Gabriel always appears just above and/or to his right.

    Incense continues to be offered up as well as prayers, like those sent up by Zachariah, which were wonderfully fulfilled.

  4. fatherstephen Avatar

    I think John can appear elsewhere. I’ll check.

  5. Michael Bauman Avatar
    Michael Bauman

    God is with us! Understand and submit yourselves all ye nations, for God is with us!

  6. sarahtoga Avatar

    Jesus wasn’t even born on december 25th.

  7. fatherstephen Avatar


    As an Orthodox Christian I observe the dates that have been established by the Tradition of the Church. The date of Christ’s birth was celebrated on a number of different days in the earliest centuries, coming finally to be placed on the 25th of December. Out of reverence to the Fathers and in obedience to the faith I keep that day as the day of his birth.

    If you’re not an Orthodox Christian I can understand why you might question the date. We are not saying “this is the date”, but “this is the day we observe.” The Blog title notes that it is reflections from within the Orthodox faith. I’m sorry if that tradition bothers you.

  8. Michael Bauman Avatar
    Michael Bauman

    sarahtoga: But He was born, crucified, raised from the dead and ascended into heaven all out of an unfathomable love for us and our salvation. Whenever I allow the immensity of His gift, His ineffable gift, to us to filter through my sinfulness I really feel the need to celebrate in Thanksgiving, the fact that Christians all around the world are doing the same only makes the celebration better.

  9. Jack Avatar

    The claim that Christ wasn’t “really born” on December 25 is one of the many modern myths that afflict contemporary society.

    I noticed something at the RC midnite Nativity mass I attended with a Protestant friend of mine, the “shepards watching their flocks by night” sounded like a description of the Bishops. I wonder if there isn’t an implicit eschatology here?

  10. fatherstephen Avatar

    Strangely enough, as an Orthodox Christian, I haven’t a care in the world what the actual date was – it’s not the basis for the Church deciding when it celebrates anything, anyway – not ultimately. There are theological meanings to the shape of the Christian year that are there for our edification and upbuilding if we want. If we want to take a tourist’s view of history, fine. But you won’t know what anything means of all that you see. The key to the present lies in the future – and that was revealed in the past. Hmmmm.

  11. bastrix Avatar

    A happy day for patronymically day of St.Protomartyr Stephan, father Stephan and I wont you to know that I came back from my holiday and we can continue our discussion.

    Father Dorin from Romanian,
    27 December 2006.

  12. Cheryl Avatar


    I have a question about this icon. Why is Joseph off to the side looking sad? I think I remember being told that the old man next time him is Satan? It just seems strange to me [as a Protestant who is only used to seeing happy little manger figures] that he is apart from the celebration, and sad?


  13. Cheryl Avatar

    And why is there the Madonna ready to bathe Christ in the lower right-hand corner? Is this to represent baptism because of the similarities in the feasts of Theophany, Nativity, and Pascha?

  14. Brenda Avatar

    Joseph is being tempted by Satan (here disquised as an old man), hoping to question whether Mary really is the Mother of God. Here is a link that explains the whole icon. Interesting explanation about the bathing of Jesus in article.

  15. eastofmina Avatar

    Are copies of this particular icon for sale? It’s beautiful and I would love a copy for my home…

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