The Sacrament of Christ’s Incarnation and Birth
By St. Peter Chrysologus (406-450)
A virgin conceived, bore a son, and yet remained a virgin. This is no natural occurrence, but a visible sacrament or sign of God’s divine power. It is a unique event, not like any other events. Christ’s birth was not a necessity, but an expression of God’s power, a sacrament or outward sign of goodness for the redemption of all men and women. He who made the man Adam without generation from pure clay, also made the man Jesus, who was born from the pure body of Mary. God who took clay to make our human flesh in Adam also took on the same clay of human flesh for our salvation. That the Creator is in His creature and God is in the flesh brings dignity to humnaity without bringing dishonor to God who is the Creator of human flesh.
Why then do we humans see ourselves as worthless, when we are so precious to God?
Why do we dishonor ourselves by sin, when we are so honored by Him?
Why do we ask how we were created, but fail to ask why we were made?
Was not this entire visible universe made for our dwelling? It was for us that the light dispelled the overshadowing gloom; for our sake was the night regulated and the day measured, and for us the heavens were decorated with the varying brightness of the sun, the moon and the stars. The earth was adorned with flowers, forests and fruit; and the constant marvelous variety of lovely living things was created in the air, the fields, and the seas for us, lest sad solitude destroy the joy of God’s new creation.
And the Creator still works to arrange things that can add to our glory. He has made us in His image that we might, in our person, make the invisible Creator present on earth; God has made us His living representative in this the vast world. Then in His mercy God in time assumed our human flesh; He wanted now to be truly seen in man; now He would be in reality what He had only been symbolically.
And so Christ is born that by His birth He might restore our nature. He became a child, was fed, and grew, that He might begin the one perfect age to remain for ever as He created it. He supports humanity that humanity might no longer fall. And the creature He had formed out of the earth, He now makes heavenly; and what He had endowed with a human soul He now give life to become a heavenly spirit. In this way He fully raised humanity to His Heavenly Father and left in faithful men and women neither sin, nor death, nor travail, nor pain, nor anything earthly, with the grace of our Lord Christ Jesus, who lives and reigns with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, now and for ever, for all the ages of eternity. Amen.
A Blessed and Merry Christmas to all!