In the Byzantine Tradition, the 40-day fasting period in preparation for the Nativity of Our Lord begins today. Below is a prayer from the service of Royal Hours on the eve of the Nativity. It can be used as a daily prayer during the Nativity Fast. May your journey to this great feast be blessed!
O Christ our Lord and God, You did not think equality with God something to be grasped at, but You emptied Yourself, took the form of a slave and were born in human likeness. Enlighten us as we prepare to celebrate Your holy birth. Make us worthy to see the mystery of Your becoming man for us, while remaining God in eternity. Fill our minds with understanding, that we might see You even in the least of our brothers and sisters. You have given us the gift of Your Holy Spirit, You have loved us even to the point of your saving death and glorious resurrection, grant us also a faith that cannot be confused, a love that does not pretend, and a wisdom that is complete. You have said, "Unless you become like children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven." Grant that in this feast we may again experience the rebirth we were given in baptism, and sing out with the angels, "Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to those on whom His favor rests." You have humbled Yourself, O Christ our God. May Your name be exalted, together with the name of Your eternal Father and the name of Your all-holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and forever. Amen.