The word of God, Jesus Christ, on account of his great love for mankind, became what we are in order to make us what he is himself.

Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses

Here the impossible union Of spheres of existence is actual, Here the past and future Are conquered, and reconciled

T. S. Eliot, from The Four Quartets

Incarnation is God's promise to be a committed participant with us in our living, our imagining, our dreaming, and our yearning.

W. Paul Jones, Teaching the Dead Bird to Sing

Mary-born Lord, humble us so that we also might say, "Let it be with me according to your word."

Stanley Hauerwas, Prayers Plainly Spoken

Faithful God, we rejoice that you have sent your promised Christ. And yet, O God, we confess that we are still not ready for Christ's coming; we are reluctant to live as if the whole earth were your domain. We know the story—the shepherds, the angels, the magi—but we don't fully understand what it means. Awaken us to your Spirit, let Christ's birth make a difference in our lives, and grant us your peace, through the grace of Jesus Christ.

Ruth C. Duck in The Westminster Collection of Christian Prayers.

"He has regarded the lowliness of his handmaiden," said Mary when she saw, accepting her nothingness, the essential love of God and felt her flesh become the dwelling place and nourishment of the Word Incarnate. How wonderful that Mary's nothingness should attract God's all. What sweetness in her prayer when she recognized that she was at the opposite pole from God, where humility not only becomes the acceptance of love, but is one of its demands.

Carlo Carretto, Letters from the Desert

God did not send Christ to us; God came to us in Christ.

Don S. Skinner, Passage Through Sacred History

For the "incarnation of God" to be possible in a Christian sense, God must be able to come over to our side without leaving his own "side."

Hans Urs von Balthasar, Elucidations

The incarnation was a historical and unrepeatable event with permanent consequences. Reigning at God's right hand today is the man Christ Jesus, still human as well as divine, though now his humanity has been glorified. Having assumed our human nature, he has never discarded it, and he never will.

John Stott, Authentic Christianity

If Jesus is the revelation of the heart of God, it's very good news about the nature of God.

Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs

Christ came to bring peace and we celebrate his coming by making peace impossible for six weeks of each year . …He came to help the poor and we heap gifts upon those who do not need them.

A. W. Tozer, The Warfare of the Spirit

We are to be to others what Christ has become for us.

George MacLeod, Only One Way Left

Related Elsewhere

Past Reflections columns include:

Desert Springs (November 25, 2002)
Matters of the Mind (October 16, 2002)
Bumper stickers (August 6, 2002)
Preaching (July 18, 2002)
Prayer (June 24, 2002)
Suffering and Grief (May 20, 2002)
Writers and Words (April 18, 2002)
Crucifixion (March 28, 2002)
God's Mission (February 13, 2002)
On Enemies (January 8, 2002)
Life After Christmas (December 26, 2001)
Love & Marriage (November 13, 2001)
The Word of God (October 22, 2001)
Leadership (October 11, 2001)
Suffering (September 13, 2001)
Change (August 14, 2001)
Living Tradition (July 18, 2001)
Sacred Spaces (June 11, 2001)
Friendship (May 17, 2001)

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