Five Christmas Sermon Extracts

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Truth, then, has arisen from the earth: Christ who said, I am the Truth, was born of the Virgin. And justice looked down from heaven: because believing in this new-born child, man is justified not by himself but by God.

Truth has arisen from the earth: because the Word was made flesh. And justice looked down from heaven: because every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.

Truth has arisen from the earth: flesh from Mary. And justice looked down from heaven: for man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.

(Augustine of Hippo, from “On the Mystery of the Incarnation”)

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I behold a new and wondrous mystery! My ears resound to the Shepherd’s song, piping no soft melody, but chanting full forth a heavenly hymn.

The Angels sing!
The Archangels blend their voices in harmony!
The Cherubim hymn their joyful praise!
The Seraphim exalt His glory!

All join to praise this holy feast, beholding the Godhead here on earth, and man in heaven. He who is above, now for our redemption dwells here below; and he that was lowly is by divine mercy raised. Bethlehem this day resembles heaven; hearing from the stars the singing of angelic voices; and in place of the sun, enfolds within itself on every side the Sun of Justice.

(John Chrysostom, from “Christmas Day Sermon”)

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Come, Desire of nations, come,
fix in us thy humble home;
rise, the woman’s conquering Seed,
bruise in us the serpent’s head.

Now display thy saving power,
ruined nature now restore;
now in mystic union join
thine to ours, and ours to thine.

(Charles Wesley, from “Hark, How All the Welkin Rings”)

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Come to the feet of our infant Redeemer,
Come where today in a manger He lies;
Lift up our hearts in a song of devotion,
Let our hosannas with gladness arise.
Over the plains and the mountains of Judah,
Prophets beheld and His coming foretold;
Sang of the love and compassion that moved Him,
Love that is purer and better than gold.
Tell how He came from His throne up in heaven;
Came to the world as a part of God’s plan.
Hail and exalt him, the Son of the Highest;
Sing hallelujah, again and again!
Come to the feet of our infant Redeemer,
Come in the light of this beautiful morn;

Then in the hearts of the poor and the lowly,
Carry the tidings that Jesus is born. (He is born.)
Sing hallelujah,
Jesus is born!

(Fanny Crosby, “Sing Hallelujah”)

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The whole life of Christ was a continual passion. Others die martyrs, but Christ was born a martyr. He found Golgotha, where he was crucified, even in Bethlehem, where he was born. For to his tenderness then, the straws were almost as sharp as the crown of thorns after, and the manger as uneasy at first as his cross at the last. His birth and his death were but one continual act, and his Christmas Day and his Good Friday are but the evening and the morning of one and the same day.

(John Donne, “The Showing Forth of Christ”)

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