Luke’s Nativity: December 25

And after all of this the angels left them and went up into the heavens.  And the herdsmen conferred with one another.  “We should go to Bethlehem and see about this sign,” they said.  According to the Lord, we should find a baby there.”

And they left eagerly and sought out Mariam and Joseph and the baby, who was lying in the manger.  And when they saw them there, they knew how significant this was, about the word given to them by the angels, and about this child.  And when the little family heard the shepherd’s report, they were amazed about it.   And Mary continued to add it all up in her heart. She joined their story up with the many amazing, but hidden, signs they had experienced.

And the shepherds returned to their fields giving glory and praising God for all that they heard and saw.  For all of it was just as the angels had said.

 

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See how the shepherds hurry!  No-one seeks Christ unless it is with eager haste.  Notice how the shepherds believed the angel.  You, too, my friend, must believe the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit; the angels, the prophets, the Apostles.  Notice too with what precision Scripture speaks and how it weighs each word: ‘They came with haste to see the Word.’ Truly, when they see the Lord in the flesh, they see the Word; that is to say they see the Son.

“Do not think lightly of their example of faith; do not despise the shepherds. The greater their simplicity, the more precious is their faith.  The Lord is not looking for learned academies filled with wise and intellectual circles.  He wants simple people incapable of decking out in flowery language and falsifying what they have heard.  What He desires is simplicity, not pretentiousness.  Do not think that the shepherds’ words are unimportant; do not look down on them.  It is from these very shepherds that Mary gathers faith; it is these very shepherds that bring the people together to pay homage to God; for ‘all that heard wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds’” (Luke 2.18).

St. Ambrose, Commentary on the Gospel of Luke: Book 2.

 

“Therefore, do not look not upon he Who was laid in the manger merely as a babe, but in our poverty see Him Who is as rich as God. And, in the measure of our humanity, see Him Who outshines the inhabitants of heaven, and Who therefore is glorified even by the holy angels. And how noble was the hymn, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, and among men good will!’ For the angels and archangels, thrones and lordships, and high above them the Seraphim, preserving their settled order, are at peace with God: for never in any way do they transgress His good pleasure but are firmly established in righteousness and holiness.

“But we, wretched beings, by having set up our own desires in opposition to the will of our Lord, had put ourselves into the position of enemies unto Him. But by Christ this has been done away: for He is our peace; for He has united us by Himself unto God the Father, having taken away from the middle the cause of the enmity, even sin, and so justifies us by faith, and makes us holy and without blame, and calls near unto Him those who were afar off: and besides this, He has created the two people into one new man, so making peace, and reconciling both in one body to the Father. For it pleased God the Father to form all things into one new whole in Him, and to bind together things below and things above, and to make those in heaven and those on earth into one flock. Christ therefore has been made both Peace and Goodwill for us; by Him and with Him to God the Father be glory and honor and might with the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever, Amen.”

Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on the Gospel of Luke: Book2

 

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