The fourth century Bishop of Myra died on this day about 360. He is highly venerated in the Eastern Church as a miracle worker, as “preacher of the word of God, spokesman of the Father.”
Thomas Hopko writes, “The celebration of the feast of the nativity of Christ in the Orthodox church is patterned after the celebration of the feast of our Lord’s resurrection. A fast of forty days precedes the feast, with special preparatory days announcing the approaching birth of the Savior. Thus, on St. Andrew’s Day (November 30) and St. Nicolas Day (December 6) songs are sung to announce the coming birthday of the Lord.
‘Adorn yourself, O cavern.
Make yourself ready, O manger.
O shepherds and magi,
Bring your gifts and bear witness.
For the Virgin is coming bearing Christ in her womb.’”