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Wisdom of the Oriental Orthodox Fathers

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He saw that the enemy was dissembling in the guise of a friend of mankind approaching us as the counsellor.
But God revealed his love toward us as a good God to the envy and consternation of the enemy.

As I said before, the devil envied us, carrying us into slavery;
God summoned us to sonship.

The enemy let us be cast out of Paradise,
but the Lord opened the gate of heaven to us.

We were wronged in the Paradise of delight,
but the one who acted wickedly toward us in the place of our rest was thrown out of the heavens down upon the earth, and you, the man of earth, were taken up to heaven.

--St. Rufus of Shotep, fifth exegesis on Luke 1:26-27, (late 6th, early 7th century)

We celebrate the feast of the Nativity because of our partaking of God's glory.  Maybe this reason may be too heavy for our sensitive ears to hear.  The natural reaction is "God forbid, astaghfirullah!"  What do you mean by "partaking of our Lord's glory"? 

Well, there is no true glory except the glory of God.  When Paul describes the glory of the flesh, he usually talks about it sown in corruption, dishonor, weakness, of dust (cf. 1 Cor. 15).  If then the one and true persisting glory is that of God, God the Word came and dwelt in and united with our human nature and granted this nature His own glory, as He prayed to the Father in John 17, "The glory which You gave Me [before the world was], I have given them".  He granted us this glory, and gave us a hint of our glorification on the event of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor, with the divine glory. 

In celebrating our partaking of the glory of God, we are celebrating the transfer of a humanity that was prone to life of dust into the life of the glory of Jesus Christ.  As Paul said, "to those He justified, He glorified" that they may be "conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren" (cf. Romans 8 ).

--HG Bishop Angelos, Papal Exarch in North America, Feast of the Nativity, January 6, 2018


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