Paradoxes of the Incarnation


Georges de La Tour, “The Adoration of the Shepherds” (1644)

During this Advent season, consider how Augustine celebrates the mysterious paradoxes of the Incarnation in a Christmas sermon:

Attributes which contradict each other are found in wondrous harmony in the Infant Christ.

My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, of the Lord through whom all things have been made and who has been made in the midst of all things; who is the Revealer of His Father, the Creator of His mother; who is the Son of God through His Father without a mother, the Son of man through His mother without a father. He is great as the Day of the angels, small in the day of men; the Word God before all time, the Word made flesh at a suitable time. Make of the sun, He is made under the sun. Disposer of all ages in the bosom of the Father, He consecrates this day in the womb of His mother; in Him He remains, from her He goes forth. Creator of heaven and earth, He was born on earth under heaven. Unspeakably wise, He is wisely speechless; filling gate world, He lies in a manger; Ruler of the stars, He nurses at His mother’s bosom. He is both great in the nature of God, and small in the form of a servant, but so that His greatness is not diminished by His smallness, nor His smallness overwhelmed by His greatness. For He did not desert His divine works when He took to Himself human members. Nor did He cease to reach from end to end mightily, and to order all things sweetly, when, having put on the infirmity of the flesh, He was received into the Virgin’s womb, not confined therein. Thus the food of wisdom was not taken away from the angels, and we were to taste how sweet  is the Lord. (Source: Augustine, Sermons for Christmas and Epiphany)


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