All Things Made New

From “Oration 38, For Christmas” (381)

Christ is born; let us glorify him. Christ comes down from heaven; let us go out to meet him. Christ descends to earth; let us be raised on high. Let all the world sing to the Lord; let the heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad, for his sake who was first in heaven and then on earth. Christ is here in the flesh; let us exalt with fear and joy — with fear, because of our sins; with joy, because of the hope that he brings us.

Once more the darkness is dispersed; once more the light is created. Let the people that sat in the darkness of ignorance now look upon the light of knowledge. The things of old have passed away; behold all things are made new. He who has no mother in heaven is now born without a father on earth. The laws of nature are overthrown, for the upper world must be filled with citizens.

He who is without flesh becomes incarnate; the Word puts on a body; the invisible makes itself seen; the intangible can be touched; the timeless has a beginning; the Son of God becomes the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever.

St. Gregory Nazianzus (329-390) was among the most influential theologians and orators of the early church, and is ranked among the four great doctors of the Eastern Church. An uncompromising champion of the Nicene Faith, he went to Constantinople in 379, aiming to reconvert the city to orthodoxy, and was made its archbishop. He led the Second Ecumenical Council in 381, which affirmed the full divinity of the Holy Spirit. Oration 38 was the first in a series of three, called the Epiphany Homilies, which he preached in the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople. Scholars describe them as his most complete treatment of Christian theology and spirituality. Gregory is commemorated on January 2 by most Anglican churches and the Roman Catholic Church, and on January 25 by the Orthodox churches.  


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