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Come and see!

While the canon of the feast of the Nativity begins to be sung on the festival of the entrance of the Virgin Mary into the temple, the first prefeast hymns of Christmas are sung on the feast of “the all-praised and first-called apostle Andrew.”

In the gospel according to St John, Philip calls his friend Nathanael to “come and see” Jesus, but it is Jesus Himself who invites Andrew to “come and see” where He dwells and to spend the day with Him…

Come and see! This is the abiding invitation of the Church in her liturgical services. Come with faith and you will be numbered with those to whom “it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 13:11)…

The Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew from the Church of Sant’Apollinare, Ravenna, Italy

Come and see! You will witness the mystery of Christ’s birth from the Virgin, His manifestation at the Jordan in His baptism by John, His victory over the devil in the desert, His proclamation of good news to the poor, His announcement of liberty to the oppressed, His declaration of the acceptable year of the Lord’s grace. You will witness His accomplishment of the signs of His messiahship: the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the dumb talk. You will see the winds cease and the seas calmed. You will behold the table spread “in the wilderness” in the feeding of the multitudes (Ps 78:19). You will witness the casting out of demons. And, most glorious of all, you will see the dead being raised by the word of His power. You will know indeed that “the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Mt 12:28), and you will testify truly that “something greater than Jonah” and “something greater than Solomon is here” (Mt 12:41-42). You will see what “many prophets and righteous men longed to see…and did not see it, and to hear…and did not hear it” (Mt 13:17). And ultimately you will see the Son of God Himself being lifted upon the Cross in order to give His broken body as food for His people, and His shed blood as their drink, that their hunger and thirst for peace and joy and righteousness, and indeed for life itself, might be forever satisfied.

Excerpt from The Winter Pascha by Fr. Thomas Hopko (SVOTS ’63), St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1984.

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