A foretaste of Christmas

John Chrysostom

Jesus erased the curse,1 he triumphed over death,2 he opened paradise.3 He struck down sin, he opened wide the vaults of the sky, he lifted our first fruits to heaven,4 he filled the whole world with godliness. He drove out error, he led back the truth, he made our first fruits mount to the royal throne. He accomplished so many good deeds that neither I nor all men together could set them before your minds in words. Before he humbled himself, only the angels knew him. After he humbled himself, all human nature knew him. You see how his humbling of himself did not make him have less but produced countless profits, countless deeds of virtue, and made his glory shine forth with greater brightness. God wants for nothing and has need of nothing. Yet, when he humbled himself, he produced such great good, increased his household, and extended his kingdom.

John Chrysostom, On the Incomprehensible Nature of God, 8.45


  1. Gal 3:10–13
  2. 2 Tim 1:10
  3. Luke 23:43; 2 Cor 12:4
  4. 1 Cor 15:20

Author: Dale A. Brueggemann

2 thoughts on “A foretaste of Christmas

  1. Who, then, is He by the wound of Whose stripes we are healed but Christ the Lord? of Whom the same Isaiah prophesied His stripes were our healing,2 of Whom Paul the Apostle wrote in his epistle: “Who knew no sin, but was made sin for us.”3 This indeed, was divine in Him, that His Flesh did no sin, nor did the creature of the body take in Him sin. For what wonder would it be if the Godhead alone sinned not, seeing It had no incentives to sin? But if God alone is free from sin, certainly every creature by its own nature can be, as we have said, liable to sin. — Ambrose of Milan, “Three Books of St. Ambrose on the Holy Spirit,” 1.9.106.

    From St. Ambrose: Select Works and Letters, ed. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, trans. H. de Romestin, E. de Romestin, and H. T. F. Duckworth, vol. 10, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Second Series (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1896), 108.

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