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Treasures of the Fathers on the Holy Nativity

+ Today the Lord is born, the life and salvation of mankind; today a reconciliation is made of Divinity to humanity, and of humanity to Divinity; today all creation has leapt for joy; those above sent toward those below; and those below towards those above; today occurred the death of darkness and the life of humanity; today a way was made toward God for man and a way for God into the soul. – Saint Macarius the Great

+ The purpose of the advent of the Saviour, when He gave us His life-giving commandments as purifying remedies in our passionate state, was to cleanse the soul from the damage done by the first transgression and bring it back to its original state. What medicines are for a sick body, that the commandments are for the passionate soul. – Saint Isaac the Syrian

+ Melchizadek anticipated Him; he the vicar was watching to see priesthood’s Lord Whose hyssop cleanses creation. Lot saw the Sodomites who perverted nature; he looked for the Lord of natures Who gave chastity beyond nature. Aaron anticipated Him – he who saw that if his staff swallowed reptiles, His cross would swallow the Reptile that swallowed Adam and Eve. Moses saw the fixed serpent that healed the stings of basilisks, and he anticipated he would see the Healer of the first Serpent’s wound. Moses saw and he alone received the brightness of God, and he anticipated the One to come – by His teaching, the Multiplier of the godlike. – Saint Ephrem the Syrian (Hymn on the Nativity)

+ In saying that the Apostles were eyewitnesses of the substantial and living Word, the Evangelist agrees with John, who says, that the Word was made flesh, and tabernacled in us, and His glory was seen, the glory as of the Only-Begotten of the Father. For the Word became capable of being seen by reason of the flesh, which is visible and tangible and solid; whereas in Himself He is invisible. And John again in his Epistle says, "That which was from the beginning, That which we have heard, That which we have seen with our eyes, and our hands have handled around the Word of Life, and the Life became manifest." Do you not realize that he speaks of the Life as capable of being handled? He does this so that you may understand that the Son became man, and was visible in respect to the flesh, but invisible as regards His divinity. – Saint Cyril of Alexandria (Commentary on Luke )

+ The Word of God thus acted consistently in assuming a body and using a human instrument to vitalize the body. He was consistent in working through man to reveal Himself everywhere, as well as through the other parts of His creation, so that nothing was left void of His Divinity and knowledge. For I take up now the point I made before, namely that the Saviour did this in order that He might fill all things everywhere with the knowledge of Himself, just as they are already filled with His presence, even as the Divine Scripture says, ‘The whole universe was filled with the knowledge of the Lord’…The Word, then, visited that earth in which He was yet always present; and saw all the evils…. For this purpose, then, the incorporeal and incorruptible and immaterial Word of God comes to our realm, howbeit he was not far from us before. For no part of Creation is left void of Him: He has filled all things everywhere, remaining present with His own Father. But He comes in condescension to show loving kindness upon us, and to visit us. – Saint Athanasius of Alexandria (On The Incarnation of the Word)

+ And being clothed with the Spirit, they [the prophets] saw that none among the creatures was able to heal that great wound, but only the bounty of God, that is to say His Only-Begotten, Whom He sent to be the Saviour of all the world, for He is the great Physician, Who is able to heal the great wound. And they asked God and of His bounty the Father of creatures did not spare His Only-begotten for our salvation, but delivered Him up for us all and for our iniquities. And He humbled Himself, and by His stripes we all were healed. And by the word of His power He gathered us out of all lands, from one end of the world to the other end of the world, and raised up our hearts from the earth, and taught us that we are members one of another. – Saint Antony the Great (Letters)

+ "…There has been appointed over the spiritual Zion, that is, over the Church, a prince and a teacher who was not promoted at the time when He is said to have acceded to that office. For the Word that was born from the Virgin was and is always king and Lord of all. But when He became man, He made the limitations of humanity His own. For in this way we could believe truly and without hesitation that He became as we are. Therefore although it might be said that He received dominion over all things, this refers to His accepting the dispensation of the flesh, not to His pre-eminence by which He is regarded as Master of all things." – Saint Cyril of Alexandria (Commentary on Isaiah, Isa 42:1-4, translated by Norman Russell; Routledge p. 85)

+ If the coming of the Lord in the flesh did not take place, the Redeemer did not pay Death the price for us, and did not by Himself destroy the reign of Death. For if that which is subject to Death were one thing and that which was assumed by the Lord were another, then neither would Death have stopped doing his own works, nor would the suffering of the God-bearing flesh have become gain for us. He would not have destroyed sin in the flesh; we who had been dying in Adam would not have been made alive in Christ, that which had fallen apart would not have been repaired; that which was shattered would not have been restored; that which had been alienated from God by the deceit of the serpent would not have been made God’s own again. – Saint Basil the Great (Letter, 377 AD)

Posted by Fr. Moses Samaan

April 9, 2009