Last year on December 24 I wrote a long post with photos called “Christmases Remembered.” So, that’s done.
This morning I’m at home, still sick, and missing the Royal Hours and Divine Liturgy at St. John. I’ll go to the Christmas Eve service tonight at 10:30, no matter how I’m feeling. It’s the Feast of the Nativity and I’ve only missed it once in twenty years (when I was even sicker than I am now) and so I will be there, God willing. I missed our annual children's Christmas play at St. John this past Sunday. They use a backdrop that looks like the icon of the Nativity, and dress up as the shepherds and angels and Mary and Joseph, etc. It's always wonderful.
I’m searching my memory, books on my shelves, and yes, the web, for something to share, because my creative well feels a bit dry this morning. Or maybe I’m just letting my physical illness steal some of my joy. JOY! That’s it. That’s what I’m looking for. You see, my mother fell out of her bed at the nursing home Monday night. She didn’t hurt her (broken but healing) hip, thank God. But the nurse said she tried to get up (she can’t walk alone yet) because she “heard someone crying and wanted to help them.” I guess there are always people crying in a nursing home.
And three of my close friends—yes three—have parents in the hospital this Christmas. Well, one was just discharged, but still, it’s easy to let the pain and sadness steal the joy, isn’t it?
So, here’s what I found on my web search. First this site with lots of videos of Orthodox Christian Nativity music and other information about Orthodoxy.
And then these two videos below I found on Father Stephen's blog. I don’t know how old this is and many of you might have already seen it, but it was so joyful that it brought tears to my eyes when I found it this morning. First, I’ll set it up:
This is a beautiful hymn by St. Nikolai Velimirovich, A Serbian Christmas Song
Andjeli Pevaju (in Serbian)
Noć prekrasna i noć tija,nad pećinom zvezda sija,u pećini mati spi,nad Isusom andjel bdi.
Andjeli pevaju,pastiri sviraju,andjeli pevajumudraci javljaju:Što narodi čekaše,što proroci rekoše,evo sad se u svet javi,u svet javi i objavi:Rodi nam se Hristos Spasza spasenje sviju nas.Aliluja, aliluja,Gospodi pomiluj!
(deep voice) no matter what you are doing, spin threads for heaven!
Angels Sing (lyrics)
the night so grand and placid,
a star shining over the cave,
the mother sleeping in the cave,
where the angel of Jesus hast been.
the angels are singing,
the sheperds are fluting,
the angels are singing,
the wise bring it forth:
what the nations awaited,
what the prophets had said,
here and now it is announced,
it is announced and brought forth:
Christ, our Redeemer is born!
for the Salvation of us all.
Lord, have mercy!
“Shepherds are fluting” means that they are playing music, in Serbia for example traditionally shepherds are playing wooden fife.
And now for the treat: two Serbian Orthodox Christmas videos that just radiate joy. My gift to you. Just click on each video below and enjoy.
Christ is Born! Glorify Him!