Monday, December 25, 2006

On the Nativity of Our Lord
"How unobtrusively and simply do those events take place on earth that are so heralded in heaven! On earth it happened in this wise: There was a poor young wife, Mary of Nazareth, among the meanest dwellers of the town, so little esteemed that none noticed the great wonder that she carried. She was silent, did not vaunt herself, but served her husband, who had no man or maid. They simply left the house. Perhaps they had a donkey for Mary to ride upon, though the Gospels say nothing about it and we may well believe that she went on foot. Think how she was treated in the inns on the way, she who might well have been taken in a golden carriage, with gorgeous equipage! How many great ladies and their daughters there were at that time, living in luxury, while the mother of God, on foot, in midwinter trudged her weight across the fields! How unequal it all was!

"Let us, then, meditate upon the Nativity just as we see it happening in our own babies. I would not have you contemplate the deity of Christ, the majesty of Christ, but rather his flesh. Look upon the baby Jesus. Divinity may terrify man. Inexpressible majesty will crush him. That is why Christ took on our humanity, save for sin, that he should not terrify us but rather that with love and favor he should console and confirm.

"Now is overcome the power of sin, death, hell, conscience, and guilt, if you come to judge this gurgling Babe and believe that he is come, not to judge you, but to save."

- From Martin Luther's Christmas Book, edited by Roland Bainton, pp. 30-32.

One reason why I keep coming back to this book every Advent/Christmas is because I love Luther's writing. I wish I could read his works in German, but I'll have to trust the English translation. He has these wonderfully poetic turns of phrase that help to illuminate the Word of God and make it understandable.

Blessed Christmastide to you all!

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