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A beautiful Christmas prayer from the 4th century

SAINT EPHREM
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On the sixth day of Christmas, a Christmas prayer for you.

During these twelve days of Christmas, it is most appropriate to continue meditating on the beauty and glory of Christmas Day.

In particular, there is a beautiful prayer by St. Ephraim the Syrian that captures the hope and enduring quality of Jesus’ birth. Ephraim was a deacon of the 4th century in Edessa (modern-day Turkey). He wrote many different Christian hymns that spoke profound spiritual truths. His writings were greatly regarded in the early Church, and he has since been named a Doctor of the Church.

Below is a brief prayer and meditation from St. Ephraim on the Nativity of Jesus.

The feast day of your birth resembles You, Lord
Because it brings joy to all humanity.
Old people and infants alike enjoy your day.
Your day is celebrated
from generation to generation.
Kings and emperors may pass away,
And the festivals to commemorate them soon lapse.
But your festival
will be remembered until the end of time.
Your day is a means and a pledge of peace.
At Your birth heaven and earth were reconciled,
Since you came from heaven to earth on that day
You forgave our sins and wiped away our guilt.
You gave us so many gifts on the day of your birth:
A treasure chest of spiritual medicines for the sick;
Spiritual light for the blind;
The cup of salvation for the thirsty;
The bread of life for the hungry.
In the winter when trees are bare,
You give us the most succulent spiritual fruit.
In the frost when the earth is barren,
You bring new hope to our souls.
In December when seeds are hidden in the soil,
The staff of life springs forth from the virgin womb.

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