Advent and the Incarnation of Christ Pastor Jim Stegall
What a beautiful time the Christmas season is. Having just finished up my first Advent season with Whitfield UMC, I feel a fresh fascination in my heart regarding the incarnation of Christ–that full divinity and full humanity met in Christ. During Advent, we look at this great mystery (1 Timothy 3:16a) in the face of Jesus not just when he started his ministry or became an adult, but also when he was just a newborn baby there in Bethlehem. This great mystery should not occupy our thoughts only during this time of the year, but is something that should fascinate our hearts and cause them to be inflamed with love for Jesus throughout all of our lives.
I want to finish this post with my favorite quote about the birth of Christ, a quote that has stirred my soul many times throughout the years. It is from St. Alphonsus Liguori (1698-1787):
“My Jesus, supreme and true God! What has drawn Thee from heaven to be born in a cold stable, if not the love which Thou bearest us men? What has allured thee from the bosom of Thy Father, to place Thee in a hard manger? What has brought Thee from Thy throne above the stars to lay Thee down on a little straw? What has led Thee from the midst of the nine choirs of angels, to set Thee between two animals? Thou, who inflamest the seraphim with holy fire, art now shivering with cold in this stable! Thou, who settest the stars in the sky in motion, canst not now move unless others carry Thee in their arms! Thou, who givest men and beasts their food, hast need now of a little milk to sustain Thy life! Thou, who art the joy of heaven, dost now whimper and cry in suffering! Tell me who has reduced Thee to such misery? ‘Love has done it,’ says Saint Bernard. The love which Thou bearest us men has brought all this on Thee.”