“Come and See What Love Has Done…”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” –Luke 2:13-14

“What shall I say to you; what shall I tell you? I behold a mother who has brought forth new life; I see a child come to this light by birth. The manner of his conception I cannot comprehend. Nature is overcome, the boundaries of the established order set aside, where God so wills. For not according to nature has this thing come to pass. Nature here has rested, while the will of God labored. O, ineffable grace! The only begotten One, who is before all ages, who cannot be touched or be perceived, who is simple, without body, has now put on my body, which is visible and liable to corruption. For what reason? That coming amongst us he may teach us, and teaching, lead us by the hand to the things that we mortals cannot see. For since we believe that the eyes are more trustworthy than the ears, we doubt that which they do not see, and so he has deigned to show himself in bodily presence, that he may remove all doubt…

What shall I say! And how shall I describe this birth to you? For this wonder fills me with astonishment. The Ancient of Days has become an infant. He who sits upon the sublime and heavenly throne now lies in a manger. And he who cannot be touched, who is without complexity, incorporeal, now lies subject to human hands. He who has broken the bonds of sinners is now bound by an infant’s bands. But he has decreed that ignominy shall become honor, infamy be clothed with glory, and abject humiliation the measure of his goodness. For this he assumed my body, that I may become capable of his word; taking my flesh, he gives me his spirit; and so bestowing and I receiving, he prepares for me the treasure of life. He takes my flesh to sanctify me; he gives me his Spirit, that he may save me.

Truly wondrous is the whole chronicle of the nativity. For this day the ancient slavery is ended, the devil confounded, the demons take to flight, the power of death is broken. For this day paradise is unlocked, the curse is taken away, sin is removed, error driven out, truth has been brought back, the speech of kindliness diffused and spread on every side – a heavenly way of life has been implanted on the earth…

Why is this? Because God is now on earth, and man in heaven; on every side all things commingle. He has come on earth, while being fully in heaven; and while complete in heaven, he is without diminution on earth. Though he was God, he became man, not denying himself to be God. Though being the unchanging Word, he became flesh that he might dwell amongst us.

What shall I say? What shall I utter?

‘Behold an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.'”

–St. John Chrysostom, from the essay ‘The Mystery’

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For Your Saturday…Spectacular Hope

Christmas is God’s promise that broken things can be made beautiful again. – via Pete Wilson, Crosspoint.tv

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me…to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor…

You’ll get a brand-new name
    straight from the mouth of God.
You’ll be a stunning crown in the palm of God’s hand,
    a jeweled gold cup held high in the hand of your God.
No more will anyone call you Rejected,
    and your country will no more be called Ruined.
You’ll be called Hephzibah (My Delight),
    and your land Beulah (Married),
Because God delights in you
    and your land will be like a wedding celebration…

Walk out of the gates. Get going!
    Get the road ready for the people.
Build the highway. Get at it!
    Clear the debris,
    hoist high a flag, a signal to all peoples!
Yes! God has broadcast to all the world:
    “Tell daughter Zion, ‘Look! Your Savior comes,
Ready to do what he said he’d do,
    prepared to complete what he promised.’”
Zion will be called new names: Holy People, God-Redeemed,
    Sought-Out, City-Not-Forsaken.

-from Isaiah 61 & 62 (NIV/MSG)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! -2nd Cor. 5:17

Words of Wonder from St. John Chrysostom

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” –Luke 2:13-14

 What shall I say to you; what shall I tell you? I behold a mother who has brought forth new life; I see a child come to this light by birth. The manner of his conception I cannot comprehend. Nature is overcome, the boundaries of the established order set aside, where God so wills. For not according to nature has this thing come to pass. Nature here has rested, while the will of God labored. O, ineffable grace! The only begotten One, who is before all ages, who cannot be touched or be perceived, who is simple, without body, has now put on my body, which is visible and liable to corruption. For what reason? That coming amongst us he may teach us, and teaching, lead us by the hand to the things that we mortals cannot see. For since we believe that the eyes are more trustworthy than the ears, we doubt that which they do not see, and so he has deigned to show himself in bodily presence, that he may remove all doubt…

What shall I say! And how shall I describe this birth to you? For this wonder fills me with astonishment. The Ancient of Days has become an infant. He who sits upon the sublime and heavenly throne now lies in a manger. And he who cannot be touched, who is without complexity, incorporeal, now lies subject to human hands. He who has broken the bonds of sinners is now bound by an infant’s bands. But he has decreed that ignominy shall become honor, infamy be clothed with glory, and abject humiliation the measure of his goodness. For this he assumed my body, that I may become capable of his word; taking my flesh, he gives me his spirit; and so bestowing and I receiving, he prepares for me the treasure of life. He takes my flesh to sanctify me; he gives me his Spirit, that he may save me.

 Truly wondrous is the whole chronicle of the nativity. For this day the ancient slavery is ended, the devil confounded, the demons take to flight, the power of death is broken. For this day paradise is unlocked, the curse is taken away, sin is removed, error driven out, truth has been brought back, the speech of kindliness diffused and spread on every side – a heavenly way of life has been implanted on the earth…

 Why is this? Because God is now on earth, and man in heaven; on every side all things commingle. He has come on earth, while being fully in heaven; and while complete in heaven, he is without diminution on earth. Though he was God, he became man, not denying himself to be God. Though being the unchanging Word, he became flesh that he might dwell amongst us.

 What shall I say? What shall I utter?

 “Behold an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

-St. John Chrysostom, from the essay ‘The Mystery’

mary and baby

Music Monday (Advent Edition II)

It is not yet Christmas. But it is also not the great final Advent, the final coming of Christ. Through all the Advents of our life that we celebrate goes the longing for the final Advent, where it says: “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev. 21:5). Advent is a time of waiting. Our whole life, however, is Advent – that is, a time of waiting for the ultimate, for the time when there will be a new heaven and a new earth, when all people are brothers and sisters and one rejoices in the words of the angels: “On earth peace to those on whom God’s favor rests.” Learn to wait, because He has promised to come. “I stand at the door…” We however call to Him: “Yes, come soon, Lord Jesus!”                        -Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you…Because I live, you also will live. -from John 14

Giving Him Room

A reminder for anyone walking in a season new and unfamiliar…or anyone overwhelmed by the day-to-day, the work at hand…for those who are following God’s call and feel unqualified, uncertain, incapable…for all of us who want our lives to be like that bright-long-ago-star, helping to show someone the way to Jesus…remember – in all things, His grace is all we need. His ‘power works best in weakness’. (2 Cor. 12:9) Sometimes, I think, we forget that we have to get our own plans and our own ‘abilities’ out of the way…we have to give Him room to work in us!

Maybe the thing to remember about Mary is that she said yes to God’s call, even though it was nothing she could figure out or achieve on her own. She surrendered what she had to God: a fragile body, a willing heart.

“God is the giver of such impossible tasks. He says to one-hundred-year-old Abraham and ninety-year-old Sarah, “Make a baby!” He tells a young virgin, “You are with child.” He informs a young, confused carpenter, who has never so much as touched his bride-to-be, “You are a father!” Perhaps, in the end, it’s not our abilities, but simply the fact that He says so. It is not a matter of what we can or cannot do but of God’s power.” -Michael Card

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. -Matthew 19:26

Music Monday (an Advent edition)

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them light has shined…The people will rejoice…For the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulder and the rod of their oppressor thou hast broken as on the day of Midian. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle turmult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. 

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder, and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty Hero, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over His kingdom, to establish it and uphold it with justice and righteousness from this time forth and for evermore. — from Isaiah 9

“The people in darkness sees the great light…The New Testament proclaims to us the person Himself. He is Jesus Christ, the child in the manger, the preacher on the mount, the tormented man on the cross, the risen liberator….He is already present and His power is already among us. We can follow Him, even today making visible something of the peace, liberty and righteousness of the kingdom that He will complete. It is no longer impossible. It is possible for us in fellowship with Him. Let us share in His new creation of the world and – born again to a living hope – live as new men and women.” -from ‘The Disarming Child’ by Jurgen Moltmann