The Light that knows no evening

Isaiah, as he watched by night, beheld the light that knows no evening, the light of Thy Theophany, O Christ, that came to pass from tender love for us; and he cried aloud: ‘Behold, a Virgin shall conceive and shall bear the incarnate Word, and all those born on earth shall rejoice exceedingly.’

O Creator, Thou makest new those born on earth by Thyself becoming clay. A manger and swaddling clothes and a cave are the marks of Thy lowliness. The Betrothed of Thy Mother is thought by men to be Thy father according to the flesh, and so he takes the place of the Father who begat Thee by His counsel.

The Kings, first fruits of the Gentiles, bring Thee gifts at Thy birth in a cave in Bethlehem, from a Mother who suffered no pangs of travail: by myrrh they point to Thy death, by gold to Thy royal power, by frankincense to the preeminence of Thy divinity.

Coming forth in the flesh, O Word coeternal with the Father, from a Mother who suffered no pangs of birth, Thou hast made Thy dwelling in the cave, using the manger as Thy throne. Through Thy fearful dispensation Thou dost amaze the Magi and the shepherds, and Thou fillest the angels with awe as they cry, ‘Glory to Thy dominion.’

Canticle Five, Compline, Forefeast of the Nativity