St Augustine of AfricaToday Truth has sprung up from the earth ; Christ is born in the flesh. We must celebrate this day of joy as worthily as we can.

It’s a day which of its nature impels us to consider also the everlasting day, so we must not fail to turn our minds to that also: with hope that cannot be shaken, we should yearn for gifts that are eternal.

Today we have received the power to be called children of God, so let us boldly be what we are.

For our sake, the bringer-about of all time was himself brought into time; for our sake the maker of the world appeared in the flesh; for our sake the Creator was created.

So why do we who must still die still seek our joy in perishable things; why do we put so much futile effort into clutching on to this fleeting life?

A much brighter hope has now lit up the whole earth: it promises, even to us who live on earth, eternal life in heaven.

Is this difficult to believe? Well, something much more difficult to believe has already happened. God’s promise is to make men gods.

Well, God has already himself been made a man.

He did not lose what he was, yet he chose to become what he himself had made.

He added our humanity to his divinity, but he did not in any way lose his divinity in our humanity.

We wonder when told that a child has been born of a Virgin. When we try to convince unbelievers, we tell them it’s a completely new way of being born.

A new shoot of the human race has sprung up as if from soil without seed; a son of man has been born without any intervention of a human father; virginal integrity has remained intact, both in the conception of a child, and in its bringing to birth.

The power that can accomplish all this makes us wonder: but even more wonderful was the mercy that prompted it.

It’s wonderful that he could be born in this way: it’s even more wonderful that he chose to be born in this way.

For he was the only-begotten of his Father, and he was born today as the only-begotten of his mother….

He who existed eternally with his Father, today was born in time of his mother.

Augustine of Hippo (354-430): Sermon 192, 1 & 3, tr. Pluscarden; from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Christmas Day, Year 2.

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