Global Resilience Solutions > Category:hymnography

There’s a Lot More to Christmas Than You Were Ever Taught…

Everyone knows what Christmas is about… or do they?

Truth is, most people, including almost all who consider themselves Christians, have no clue what the original Christian tradition taught about the meaning of Christmas. Below, you get to have a sneak peak at some of this, in the form of ancient hymns.

So turn up your speakers and enjoy!


When you appeared, O Christ, made flesh from a woman,
She who bore you, astonished by your humility,
Tearfully said to you my Saviour,
“How can I bear you, who are eternal, as an infant?
How can I nourish you with milk,
Who nourish all creation with your divine energy?
Through deepest compassion you put on a body and deified mortal being.
O Lord, glory to you.”

– St Kassiana the Hymnographer, Stikhera for the Nativity



This Nativity night bestowed peace on the whole world-
So let no one threaten his neighbour.
This is the night of the most gentle one –
Let no one be cruel.
This is the night of the humble one –
Let no one be haughty.
Now is the day of joy –
Let us leave aside vengeance.
Now is the day of good will –
Let us abandon meanness.
In this day of peace –
Let us not be conquered by anger.
Today the Bountiful impoverished himself for our sake-
So, rich one, invite the poor to your table.
Today we receive a gift for which we did not ask-
So let us give alms to those who implore and beg us.
This present day cast open the heavenly doors to our prayers-
Let us open our door to those who ask our forgiveness.
Today the divine being took upon himself the seal of our humanity,
In order for humanity to be adorned with the seal of divinity.

– St. Isaac the Syrian, Homily for the Nativity

By your poverty you have set us free. You were united to our nature in every way. Though we were formed from dust, by this communion we are made divine.

– St. Kosmas, Canon of the Nativity

Today heaven and earth are united for Christ is born.
Today God has come to earth and mankind ascends to heaven.
Today God, who by nature cannot be seen,
Is seen in the flesh for our sake.
Let us glorify him crying,
‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace.’
Your coming has brought peace to us:
Glory to you, our Saviour.

– Monk John, Stikhera for the Nativity



Humility is the robe of the Godhead. The Word who became human clothed himself with humility and thus spoke with us in our human body.

If zeal had been appropriate for putting humanity right, why did God the Word clothe himself in the body, using gentleness and humility in order to bring the world back to his Father?

– St. Isaac the Syrian, Ascetic Homilies



We close out with a remarkable Christmas carol indigenous to Canada. This remarkable version is performed by Heather Dale, and sung in Wendat (Huron), French and English. Huron Carol was composed by Jean de Brebeuf, a missionary at Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons, in the 17th century, in the Huron language and in the melody of a traditional French folk song.



Merry Christmas!

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger


P.S. If you look at the words carefully and compare them to standard Western Christian teaching on the meaning of Christmas, you’ll realize you’ve been seriously short-changed. From a resilience perspective this makes a huge difference, since the ultimate key to resilience is understanding how the universe is “constructed”, because that dictates how your own mind-body organism is constructed and is meant to function. Both Taoism and early Christianity referred to this as the “way”, and you can’t follow the “way” unless you have an accurate map. In other words, spiritual teachings are not just abstract “dogma” – you end up building your life on whatever spiritual teaching you follow. It’s your map, so it had better be accurate…