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December 2nd, 2008 at 2:27 pm

The Only-Begotten Son of God – Incarnation II

As I said in yesterday’s reflection on the incarnation, this “incarnation” of God in the very form of man (in the first coming of Jesus) is in many ways the premier mystery of the Christian faith. Various aspects of this central Christian truth, including ways to express this deep mystery, were debated and banged out over the first many centuries of the Christian church’s life. We have the fruit of this work readily available. Indeed, often over the course of a year in our own church we will read as a responsive reading one of the most significant “fruits” of these debates, a later expression of the Nicene Creed, the first part of which reads as follows

We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible an invisible: And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made; Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man, and crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried, and the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; And He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.

This mystery of the incarnation of God in Jesus is part of what we celebrate when we sing Advent songs about the baby Jesus. In the infancy narratives in Luke and Matthew we have deeper insight into the manner in which this “enfleshment” took place, and we also see the birth of this most special of babies so inextricably connected to the promises and hopes of Israel. For, according to Christian Scripture and teaching, the One so “enfleshed” was none other that the longed for Messiah, the Anointed one, who would free Israel from her captivity.  

We see these truths celebrated so vividly in our many and varied songs of Advent. From O Come All Ye Faithful….

Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning: Jesus, to thee be all glory giv’n; Word of the Father, late in flesh appearing. O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

…to Hark, the Herald Angels Sing…

Christ, by highest heav’n adored,  Christ, the everlasting Lord! Late in time behold Him come,  offspring of the Virgin’s womb. Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;  hail th’incarnate Deity, Pleased as man with men to dwell,  Jesus, our Emmanuel. Hark! the herald angels sing,  ”Glory to the newborn King.”

I encourage you to read the words closely to the Advent hymns and see what riches of truth are there to teach and encourage you in your faith.

All for today. I will sum up this reflection on the mystery of the “incarnation” tomorrow.

Joel

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