Reading for Vigils upon the Feast of the Nativity
‘Beloved borthers and sisters: Unto us is born this day a Saviour. Let us Rejoice!
It would be unlawful to be sad today, for today is Life’s birthday, the birthday of that Life which, for us mortal creatures, takes away the sting of death and brings the bright promise of an eternal hereafter. It would be unlawful for anyone to refuse sharing in our rejoicing. All have an equal part in the great reason why we are joyful, for our Lord, who is the destroyer of sin and death, finding that all are bound under condemnation, is come to make all free.
For when the fulness of time was come, the Son of God took upon himself human nature so that he might reconcile that nature to him who made it; hence the devil, the inventor of death, is met and conquered in that very flesh which had been the field of his victory.
Let us give thanks to God the Father through his Son in the Holy Spirit, who for his great love wherewith he loves us has had mercy on us and has quickened us together with Christ even when we were dead in sins, that in Him we might be a new creature and a new handiwork.
Let us then put off the old nature with its deeds, and having obtained a share in the sonship of Christ, let us renounce the deeds of the flesh.
Be conscious, O Christian, of your dignity! You have been made a partaker of the divine nature; do not fall again by a corrupt manner of life into the beggarly elements above which you were lifted.
Remember whose Body it is of which you are a member, and who is its Head.
Remember that it is he who has delivered you from the power of darkness and has transferred you into God’s light and God’s kingdom. By the sacrament of baptism, you have become a temple of the Holy Spirit. Do not cast away this guest by evil living and become again a servant of the devil. For your freedom was bought with Christ’s own blood.
From the ‘Sermons on the Lord’s Birth’, St Leo the Great