Today’s Scripture Readings – Royal Hours for the Nativity

Dear all,

Today the Holy Church sings the "Royal Hours" for the Nativity of our
Lord. Therefore, instead of the "normal" scripture readings I had
listed in an earlier email, the following festal readings are laid out
for us:
Micah 5:2-4; Hebrews 1:1-12; Matthew 1:18-25
Baruch 3:36-4:4; Galatians 3:23-29; Luke 2:1-20
Isaiah 7:10-16; 8:1-4, 8-10; Hebrews 1:10-2:3; Matthew 2:1-12
Isaiah 9:6-7; Hebrews 2:11-18; Matthew 2:13-23

The text of three of these readings is included below for your convenience.

Isaiah 9:6-7

6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the
government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called
Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The
Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there
shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to
order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from
henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform

Hebrews 1:1-12

1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time
past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days
spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things,
by whom also he made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of his
glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things
by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat
down on the right hand of the Majesty on high: 4 Being made so much
better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more
excellent name than they. 5 For unto which of the angels said he at
any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I
will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? 6 And again,
when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And
let all the angels of God worship him. 7 And of the angels he saith,
Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. 8
But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a
sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. 9 Thou hast
loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God,
hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. 10 And,
Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth;
and the heavens are the works of thine hands: 11 They shall perish;
but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; 12
And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed:
but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.

Matthew 1:18-25

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his
mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was
found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being
a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded
to put her away privily. 20 But while he thought on these things,
behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying,
Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife:
for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she
shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he
shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this was done, that
it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet,
saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth
a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted
is, God with us. 24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the
angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: 25 And
knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he
called his name JESUS.

By way of commentary, please consider the following hymns from the service:

Come, O ye faithful, / let us divinely ascend, / and in Bethlehem /
let us behold the descent of God to us from on high. / Having purified
ourselves in mind, / let us offer up a life of virtue instead of
myrrh, / faithfully preparing our entries into the Nativity, / crying
out from the inner-chambers of our souls: / Glory in the highest to
God, / Who existeth in Trinity! / For His sake hath goodwill appeared
among men, / delivering Adam from the primal curse, // in that He
loveth mankind!

Beholding the mystery of Thee / before Thy nativity, O Lord, / the
noetic armies were amazed; / for Thou wast well-pleased to be born as
a babe, / O Thou Who adorned heaven with stars, / and liest in a
manger of dumb beasts, / O Thou Who holdest the ends of the whole
earth in the palm of Thy hand. / By such a dispensation / hath Thy
loving-kindness become known, O Christ! / Great is Thy mercy! // Glory
be to Thee!

Reader Nicholas Park
St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, Dallas TX

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