Sunday, December 20, 2009

Make ready, O Bethlehem

Today, December 20 is the Forefeast of the Nativity of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ. At the cycle of services, we are privileged to chant this hymn:

Make ready, O Bethlehem for Eden hath been opened for all. Prepare, O Ephratha, for the Tree of Life hath blossomed forth in the cave from the Virgin. For her womb didst appear as a supersensual paradise in which is planted that Holy Vine. If we should eat thereof, we shal live and not die as Adam of old. Verily, Christ shall be born, raising the image that fell at the beginning.

I love this hymn especially since it is chanted on the hard chromatic (hijaz-kar) scale of the fourth mode. In other words, it sounds more like a plagal second, but musically speaking, it is fourth tone. But another reason why I love this hymn so much is because this short little hymn synthesizes so much of our faith: our ancestral curse, the incarnation, the eucharist, the resurrection and the redemption of mankind from mortal corruption and sin.

Here is a recording of this hymn with a litte video that I made. And it's in English, though I myself prefer Greek.


  1. This is too funny. I did the same exact thing today. I love this hymn!

  2. What? You made a video of this hymn using the exact same performance with the same icons? Wow. The Lord does work in mysterious ways!

    Thanks, brother.

  3. One other thing I've noticed is that in this week of the paramon (Forefeast) so many of the dismissal hymns of the saints are chanted to this same melody. Coincidence? Nah.