Behold, the time of our salvation approacheth; make thou ready, O cave; for it is time for the Virgin to give birth: and thou, Bethlehem of Judah, rejoice and be happy; for from thee shall shine forth our Lord. Listen O, mountains and hills and the regions about Judah; for Christ cometh to save man whom he did create; for he is the Lover of mankind.
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 belly did appear as a supersensual paradise in which is planted the divine Plant, whereof eating we shall live and not die as Adam. Verily, Christ shall be born, raising the likeness that fell of old.
– From the Orthodox Vespers on the Sunday before Christmas