Skip to main content

 Nativity of Christ in the Flesh

The last eight articles have been on the seven “O Antiphons” used in the Liturgy Advent and which contain rich Biblical images for the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The antiphons are: O Wisdom; O Sacred Lord; O Root of Jesse; O Key of David; O Radiant Dawn; O King of All Nations; O Emmanuel. These antiphons are also paraphrased in the popular carol, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.

The deacon St. Ephraim the Syrian (c. 306-373), an incredible poet and hymn writer, wrote a marvelous Christmas hymn with many biblical images of the Messiah. Following is a portion of Hymn I for the Nativity of Christ in the Flesh.

This is the day that gladdened them,
the Prophets, Kings, and Priests,
for in it were their words fulfilled,
and thus were the whole of them indeed performed!

For the Virgin this day brought forth
Immanuel in Bethlehem.
The voice that of old Isaiah spake,
today became reality....

The Psalm that David once sang,
by its fulfillment came today!
The word that Micah once spake,
Today was come indeed to pass!

For there came from Ephrata a Shepherd,
and His staff swayed over souls.
Lo! from Jacob shone the Star,
and from Israel rose the Head.

The prophecy that Balaam spake
had its interpreting today!
Down also came the hidden Light,
and from the Body rose His beauty!

The light that spake in Zachary,
today shined in Bethlehem!

Dibby Green
Originally published in the print edition of the Mojave Desert News  dated December 31, 2020.
Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church is located in California City, CA. Visit our website at


St. Ephraim the Syrian, Paul A. Böer, Sr., Ed., Hymns and Homilies of St. Ephraim the Syrian (Veritatis Splendor Publications, 2012), p. 174.