A Drop of Thanksgiving in a Sea of Glory

Blessed be the Child Who today delights Bethlehem.
Blessed be the Newborn Who today made humanity young again.
Blessed be the Fruit Who bowed Himself down for our hunger.
Blessed be the Gracious One Who suddenly enriched all of our poverty and filled our need.
Blessed be He Whose mercy inclined HIm to heal our sickness.

Thanks to the Fountainhead sent for our salvation.
Thanks to the One Who violated the sabbath in its fulfillment.
Thanks to the One Who rebuked leprosy and it remained not.
Fever also saw Him and departed.
Thanks to the Compassionate One Who bore our pain.
Glory to Your coming that restored mankind to life.

Glory to that One Who came to us by His Firstborn.
Glory to that Silent One Who spoke by means of His voice.
Glory to that Sublime One Who was seen by means of His Dawn.
Glory to the Spiritual One Who was well-pleased
that His Child should become a body so that through Him His power might be felt
and the bodies of His kindred might live again.

Glory to that Hidden One Whose Child was revealed.
Glory to that Living One Whose Son became a mortal.
Glory to that Great One Whose Son descended and became small.
Glory to that One Power Who fashioned Him,
the Image of His greatness and Form for His hiddenness.
With the eye and the mind—with both of them we saw Him.

Blessed is He Whom freedom crucified, when He permitted it.
Blessed is He Whom also the wood bore, when He allowed it.
Blessed is He Whom even the grave enclosed, when He set limits to Himself.
Blessed is He Whose will brought Him
to the womb and to birth and to the bosom and to growth.
Blessed is He Whose changes revived our humanity.

Blessed is He Who made our body a Tabernacle for His hiddenness.
Blessed is He Who with our tongue interpreted His secrets.
Let us give thanks to that Voice Whose praise on our lyre
and Whose power on our kithara are sung.
The peoples came together to listen to His melodies.

Glory to the Son of the Gracious One, rejected by the sons of the Evil One.
Glory to the Son of the Just One, crucified by the sons of the Wicked One.
Glory to the One who released us and was bound in place of us all.
Glory to that One who pledged Himself to pay the debt.
Glory to the Beautiful One Who portrayed us in His similitudes.
Glory to that Serene One Who looked not at our blemishes.

Glory to the One Who never before could be measured by us;
our heart is too small for Him and our intellect too weak.
He dazzles our smallness by the wealth of His forms.
Glory to the All-knowing Who cast Himself down,
and asks to hear and to learn what He already knew
to reveal by His questions the treasure of His benefits.

Blessed is the One Whom our mouth is not sufficient to thank,
Whose gift is too great for those gifted with speech.
Nor are the senses sufficient to give thanks for His grace.
For however much we thank Him, it is too little,
and because it is of no use for us to be silent and unnerved,
let our weaknesses return a song of thanksgiving.

Gracious One Who does not demand more than our strength,
how much was your servant judged by principal and interest—
he who did not give what was sufficient and withheld what he owed?
Sea of glory without needs,
receive in Your graciousness a drop of thanksgiving,
for by Your gift You have moistened my tongue to praise You.

Excerpts from St Ephrem the Syrian, Third Hymn On the Nativity

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