| Dec 17, 2013
The miracle of Christmas has been described so beautifully by so many, from the authors of the gospels to contemporary poets. Here is a classic description and its modern echo:
Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430), one of the greatest theologians of the early church, preached a sermon, "Christmas, the Word of God Cannot be Explained by Humanity." It remains one of the most evocative descriptions of the miracle of Christmas.
"And now, with what words shall we praise the love of God? What thanks shall we give you? God so loved us that for our sakes, God, through whom time was made, was made in time; and God, older by eternity than the world itself, was younger in age than many of God's servants in the world; God who made humanity was made a man; God was given existence by a mother whom God brought into existence; God was carried in the hands which God formed; God nursed at breasts which God filled; God cried like a baby in the manger in speechless infancy -- this Word without which human eloquence is speechless."
Madeleine L'Engle, famous for her classic book, A Wrinkle in Time has written some moving reflections on her faith, including The Irrational Season from which this Augustinian echo comes:
"Cribb'd, cabined, and confined within the contours of a human infant. The infinite defined by the finite? The Creator of all life thirsty and abandoned? Why would he do such a thing? Aren't there easier and better ways for God to redeem his fallen creatures?"
However we try to articulate the Christmas event which theologian Karl Rahner described as "the miracle of the possibility of the free gift," the incarnation remains beyond even the best gifts of our greatest wordsmiths.
In the presence of the Eternal Word made flesh all humanity falls silent.