Luke’s Nativity: December 24

And there were shepherds in their fields.  It was the night watch.  They were dwelling there and guarding their sheep. And an angel of the Lord was sent to them.  The glory of the Lord embraced them. And they trembled with a great fear.

So the angel spoke to them:

“Don’t be afraid.  For behold, I bring you news that will send rejoicing through your heart.  And it is for all the people. A sign of salvation has entered the earth, near you, in the city of David. The Lord Messiah has come.

If you go there, you will find the sign for yourself: a baby swaddled and laying in a feeding trough.”

And suddenly out of nowhere there was with the angel a multitude of the hosts of heaven.  They were praising God and saying, “Everything is as it should be. Glory in highest with God.  So let peace be found also on earth among humanity.”

::Notes::

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“The company of the holy prophets before had proclaimed both His birth in the flesh and His assumption of our likeness, as it was to come to pass in due time. And inasmuch as this hope had now reached its fulfillment, the rational powers of heaven bring the glad tidings of His manifestation and appearance in this world, to shepherds first of all at Bethlehem. They were thus the earliest to receive the knowledge of the mystery. And the type answers to the truth: for Christ reveals Himself to the spiritual shepherds, that they may preach Him to the rest, just as the shepherds also then were taught His mystery by the holy angels, and ran to bear the glad tidings to their fellows. Angels therefore are the first to preach Him and declare His glory as God born in the flesh in a wonderful manner of a woman.

“But if some one may object to this; ‘that He Who was now born was still a child, and wrapped in swaddling-clothes, and laid in a manger: how then did the powers above praise Him as God?’ Against such, our argument stands firm. Understand, O man, the depth of the mystery! God was in visible form like unto us: the Lord of all in the likeness of a slave, albeit the glory of lordship is inseparable from Him. Understand that the Only-begotten was made flesh; that He endured to be born of a woman for our sakes, to put away the curse pronounced upon the first woman.”

Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on the Gospel of Luke: Book 2.

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