18. November, 2019Past Events No comments
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(Also called Season of Soboorey, a Syriac word meaning “Happy Announcements”)

The pre-Christmas Cycle, in the Maronite Church, has six Sundays, which all focus on the unfolding revelation of the Birth of the Messiah. This is done in the context of the immediate family of Jesus, centering on Mary and Joseph (Matthew 1, 2; Luke 1, 2). This is certainly in line with the Antiochene emphasis on the humanity of Jesus and its appreciation of the historical aspect of Scripture. The greatest Announcement, of course, is that of the angels on Christmas.

There are one or two Sundays after Christmas (depending upon the day of the week that Christmas occurs), one of which is always celebrated: the Finding in the Temple. On 1 January the liturgical commemoration is Feast of the Circumcision (Naming) of the Child Jesus, with a second commemoration of the common Eastern observance of Saint Basil.

The Sundays of the Advent Season in the Maronite Church are:

  • Announcement to Zechariah
  • Announcement to the Virgin Mary
  • Visitation to Elizabeth
  • Birth of John the Baptizer
  • Revelation to Joseph
  • Genealogy Sunday
  • Christmas

Nine days before the Feast of Christmas, (beginning on December 16th and concluding on December 24th) the Maronite Church offers its Novena with voluntary fasting, commemorating the nine months that Jesus was in the womb of Mary.

Here’s an excerpt from the Maronite Christmas Novena:

We have offered you, O Wonderful Child and only-begotten Son, the perfume of our incense, the desires of our hearts, the submission of our souls, the adoring reverence of our bodies, and the prayers of our lips. May this be a proper preparation for your pure Nativity. May we be found worthy, on that holy day, for you to dwell in us through the Mystery of your Sacred Body and Blood, as you dwelt in your mother’s womb for nine months. May we be enlightened by the announcement of your holy angels, as were the humble shepherds. May we worship you with true spiritual adoration, as did the Blessed Magi, when we offer you not gold, frankincense and myrrh, but faith, hope and warm love. May these virtues flourish in us and bring forth good works pleasing to your will. To you be glory and thanks, to your Blessed Father, and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen. 

Below are verses 1 and 2 of the well-known Maronite Christmas Hymn, God Sent His Only Son, (Arabic: Arsala Allah):

God sent his only Son from the heavens to the earth as the Light for all the world. God’s Word has hid himself in the Virgin Mary’s womb, and from her, he took his flesh. His star was seen on high, shining brightly in the East, as foretold in Balaam’s words. Wise men, led by the star to the place where Jesus lay, honored him with finest gifts. Halel. Halel. Halelloonoh!

This child Isaiah called “Wonderful and mighty God” and proclaimed him as the Lord: “Upon his shoulders rest full authority and power over all the universe”. In truth, he is the Word and the Voice of God above, roaring with a lion’s strength. Yet, as a gentle lamb, silently and peacefully, he now dwells in Mary’s womb. Halel. Halel. Halelloonoh!

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