The east and sunrise:
On the occasion of Christmas celebrations in which we live in these days,
beginning with the Nativity fast and Kiahk praises in this Divine wedding,
The verse that came to the mouth of Zechariah the priest by the Holy Spirit
draws our attention,” To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the
remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God, With which
the Dayspring from on high has visited us” ( Luke 1:77,78).
The word Dayspring leads our eyes to the east, we find that God has
placed” a cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword
which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life” ( Genesis
3:24). And the Tree of Life refers to the Lord Jesus the incarnated Son of
God for the salvation of the human race. In Psalms, through prophecy, the
writer refers to the incarnation of Jesus Christ” Out of Zion, the perfection of
beauty, God will shine forth” ( Psalms 50:2).
And our Coptic church teaches us to pray looking towards the east. Also, all
the church alters face the east, not because God only exists in the east, but
as the Book says to wait for His coming from the east just as the star that
shined on His birth” Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the
days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to
Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For
we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship
Him” ( Matthew 2:1,2). Fulfilling the psalm’s prophecy that says” Give ear,
O Shepherd of Israel, You who lead Joseph like a flock; You who dwell
between the cherubim, shine forth! ( Psalm 80:1).
And when we look towards the east, we expect the light of the Lord to shine
upon us with salvation” The people who walked in darkness Have seen a
great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them
a light has shined” ( Isaiah 9:2). And during the Divine Liturgy the deacon
calls upon the congregation to look towards the east, towards the alter on
which the body and blood of Jesus Christ are placed. During the Divine
Liturgy the words of the Lord are fulfilled” I am with you always, even to the
end of the age.” Amen ( Matthew 28:20).
Oh great Lord, we never get tired looking with our hearts before our eyes
towards the east to shine in Your light , following you as a church, the bride
of Christ, as Isaiah had said” Arise, shine; For your light has come!
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you” ( Isaiah 60:1). Conquering all
darkness that tries to surround the church and the children of God by the
light of God” For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep
darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be
seen upon you” ( Isaiah 60:2). The righteous in the Old Testament were
longing to see the Messiah through the prophecies. The prophetess
Hannah the daughter of Penuel was granted by God along with Simeon
and a group of righteous people to see with their own eyes” And coming in
that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who
looked for redemption in Jerusalem” ( Luke 2:38)… ” And behold, there was
a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and
devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon
him” ( Luke 2:25). Here, the prophecy of Malachi is fulfilled when he says”
But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With
healing in His wings” ( Malachi 4:2).
My beloved, no matter the darkness we are living in because of our sins,
and whatever were our experiences with evil and death because of sin, in
the Birth of Jesus Christ – the Light of the world- is the exit to repentance
and resurrection” For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of
darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of
the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” ( 2 Corinthians 4:6).
In the Highest:
Highness in the rank, knowing through the Word that God is worthy as the
Creator to outclass all words, for no word can describe His glory and
highness” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the
Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God” ( 1 Corinthians
From this aspect, we hear the Spirit on the tongue of the prophet Isaiah”
Lift up your eyes on high, And see who has created these things, Who
brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, By the
greatness of His might And the strength of His power; Not one is
missing” ( Isaiah 40:26). Looking towards us in humbleness and amazing
love and grace, taking the form of Man, carrying our sins and dying for us
on the cross for our salvation” Surely even now my witness is in heaven,
And my evidence is on high” ( Job 16:19). The Prince of peace” Dominion
and fear belong to Him; He makes peace in His high places” ( Job 25:2).
And God in the highest, even while on earth, He is in the highest and in all.
When the Angels appeared to the shepherds they clearly declared that
saying” Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward
men! ( Luke 2:14).
In the Old Testament, when God called Moses to stand before pharaoh in
the name of the Lord to let the people of Israel go and free them from
slavery to worship the Lord in the wilderness, come and see this great God
who is on High and at the same time with His children on earth” And the
Lord said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in
Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know
their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the
Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to
a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the
Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the
Jebusites” ( Exodus 3:7-8).
Saint Paul says in his first letter to Timothy” and raised us up together, and
made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” ( Ephesians
During these wonderful days we live the blessings of incarnation and see
Emmanuel our God in our midst and with us all the time, reassuring our
hearts through his continuous presence.
Dear reader, did you enjoy the presence of the Lord, He who came down
from heaven to be personally present with you, calling you by name to
salvation and eternal life with Him and the heavenly to an indescribable
glorious joy?! ” He bowed the heavens also, and came down With darkness
under His feet” ( Psalm 18:9). Listen to Him saying” “Fear not, for I have
redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine” ( Isaiah
43:1). Give thanks to our great Lord who Dayspring on us from on high
Dayspring from on highEnglish, Written by Fr. Antonius Zikry
The east and sunrise: