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Excerpts of a Christmas sermon from 1,700 years ago

12.17.12 Topics: The Birth of Christ

Every year we observe Christmas to celebrate the Birth of Jesus over 2,000 years ago. We have been celebrating thisholiday since the days of the early church. The official name “Christmas” was the title given to this holiday during the 11th century, previous to this time it was noted as a festival.

This morning I had the beauty of reflecting upon the words of a Christmas sermon written by a Pastor in the 4th Century. The last two paragraphs of His message can be seen below. The excerpt from the sermon helps us see that the coming of Jesus has been a celebration for hundreds of years, and the message about Jesus has not changed.

by St. Gregory of Nazianzus (AD 380)

“This is our present Festival; it is this which we are celebrating today, the Coming of God to Man, that we might go forth, or rather (for this is the more proper expression) that we might go to God—that putting off of the old man, we might put on the new; and that as we died in Adam, so we might live in Christ, being born with Christ and crucified with Him and buried with Him and rising with Him. For I must undergo the beautiful conversion, and as the painful succeeded the more blissful, so must the more blissful come out of the painful.

For where sin abounded, grace did much more abound; and if a taste condemned us, how much more does the passion of Christ justify us? Therefore, let us keep the Feast, not after the manner of a heathen festival, but after a godly sort; not after the way of the world, but in a fashion above the world; not as our own, but as belonging to Him who is ours, or rather as our master’s; not as of weakness, but as of healing; not as of creation, but of re-creation.”