“Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most.” - Ruth Carter Stapleton
For Psalm Sunday today, a Greek Orthodox Kontakion that celebrates the Nativity of Jesus Christ.
A Kontakion is a type of thematic hymn in the Orthodox Church and other Eastern Christian churches. Originally, the kontakion was an extended homily in verse consisting of one or two proemia (preliminary stanzas) followed by several strophes called oikoi (singular oikos), usually between 18 and 24. The kontakia were so long that the text was rolled up on a pole for use in the services - the origin of the name kontakion, which means “from the pole” in Greek.
It is typical of the form that each of the proemia and strophes end with the same refrain. Acrostics are also a hallmark of this hymnographic form. In current practice, the kontakion has been greatly abbreviated. Only the (first) proemium and first strophe are sung or read after the sixth ode of the canon at orthros. The proemium alone is sung at the Divine Liturgy, following the troparia, and most other services of the daily cycle. The kontakion is not sung at vespers.
According to tradition, Saint Romanos the Melodist wrote the first kontakion, the Kontakion for the Birth of Our Lord, by divine inspiration. Legend aside, Romanos established the kontakion in the form it retained for centuries, and he is the most famous composer of kontakia.
Kontakion for Christmas
By Romanos the Melodist
Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One,
And the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One!
Angels with shepherds glorify Him,
The wise men journey with a star to guide them
For our sake the Eternal God was born as a Little Child!
It is illustrated by a neo-Byzantine fresco of the Nativity.
I hope your Christmas was peaceful, restful, contented and well-spent beside those you love.