Sunday, December 7, 2008

Gregory on the Incarnation

The Word of God Himself, Who is before all worlds, the Invisible, the Incomprehensible, the Bodiless, the Beginning of beginning, the Light of Light, the Source of Life and Immortality, the Image of the Archetype, the Immovable Seal, the Unchangeable Image, the Father's Definition and Word, came to His own Image, and took on Him Flesh for the sake of our flesh, and mingled Himself with an intelligent soul for my soul's sake, purifying like by like; and in all points except sin was made Man...And He who gives riches becomes poor; for He assumes the poverty of my flesh, that I may assume the riches of His Godhead. He that is full empties Himself; for He empties Himself of His Glory for a short while, that I may have a share in His Fulness.

Gregory of Nazianzus, The Second Oration on Easter

I came across this quote in an article by Daniel Hyde on the Incarnation in this months Reformation Voice newsletter. It makes for great reading on this second Sunday of Advent. You can access it in pdf form here. Hyde writes: "this dramatic and climactic event, whether we speak of it theologically as the incarnation and nativity or popularly as Christmas, seems to have lost its significance today. It is something that has become so mundane, so banal that the unbelieving culture lets "Christmas" roll off its tongue all too easily. The incarnation, however, is no mere phrase; it was a climactic, redemptive event. It was a moment in which there was hushed silence in heaven and earth as God did something He had never done before--and it was followed by exuberant praise: Come, behold the works of the Lord (Ps. 46:8)!" This hit home to me when we were at the mall and my ears picked up Christmas carols being played. "Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King" and "Hark the herald angels sing, Glory to the new born King, peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!" Sadly, for most it's merely background noise programmed to entice shoppers, not the announcement of the greatest news in history.

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