All too often we, particularly here in the U.S., get caught up in the commercialization and popular pomp of the celebration of Christmas and forget the historical, religious quality of the event.
That’s why we’re so apt to point to history and tradition as the anchor for everything we hold dear in Western culture.
And there’s no better place to look for a proper reflection on this day than to the Apostles and their successors — the Fathers of the Church — for clues how the Nativity of Christ was and is to be remembered.
Thanks to Redstate for offering up an historical profile on some of those Fathers and their poignant writings on the First Advent of the Lord of the Universe…
Here’s more from Redstate…
For Catholics, the Orthodox and mainstream denominations like Lutherans and Episcopalians/Anglicans, much of our theology and Scriptural exegesis comes from the Church Fathers. These, broadly speaking, were theologians, mostly they were priests and bishops, who, mostly, lived before the canon of the Bible was decided and whose sermons and lectures give us insight into how the Early Church interpreted Old Testament scripture as well as the books that later became the New Testament. One group, called the Apostolic Fathers are significant because they were disciples of the original Twelve and their writings reflect Christianity as the Apostles taught it.
The Church Fathers were very much into Christmas as a holiday celebrating the Nativity. Here is a sampling from their sermons.
St. Leo the Great (400 – 10 November 461)
Our Saviour, dearly-beloved, was born today: let us be glad. For there is no proper place for sadness, when we keep the birthday of the Life, which destroys the fear of mortality and brings to us the joy of promised eternity. No one is kept from sharing in this happiness. There is for all one common measure of joy, because as our Lord the destroyer of sin and death finds none free from charge, so is He come to free us all. Let the saint exult in that he draws near to victory. Let the sinner be glad in that he is invited to pardon. Let the gentile take courage in that he is called to life. For the Son of God in the fullness of time which the inscrutable depth of the Divine counsel has determined, has taken on him the nature of man, thereby to reconcile it to its Author: in order that the inventor of death, the devil, might be conquered through that (nature) which he had conquered.