Advent 4 Sunday
“And she gave birth to her first son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and placed him in a manger; for they had no other place for him in the inn.”
This is the first part of the account which is prescribed for us so that we should learn to grasp the picture by the heart how our dear Lord Jesus was born in this world in such a miserable manner, so that we might learn to thank and praise God for such splendid benefit that we poor, miserable, even condemned men have come today to such great honors that we have become one flesh and blood with the Son of God. For, as we hear, the eternal Son of the eternal Father, by whom heaven and earth were created out of nothing, became man and was born into the world like us–just that in his case there was no sin involved. This is why we may glory that God became our brother, even our own flesh and blood. This
great honor did not happen to the angels but to us men. Thus, although the angels are more glorious creatures than we are, God has honored us more and more highly than them and he has come closer to us than to the angels because he did not become an angel but a man. Now, if we men could consider this properly and could believe it wholeheartedly, such unspeakable grace and benefit of our dear Lord God should certainly make us very glad and drive us to thank God wholeheartedly, to love him, and to live in a manner worthy of his will…There is no difference between the flesh of the Son of God and our flesh, except that his flesh is without sin…Besides this difference, everything in him was natural, like in other men: He ate and drank, was hungry, thirsty, and cold, like other men. Like us, he, who was without sin, bore and had such and similar infirmities, which have been bequeathed to us due to our sin, as St. Paul says, Philippians 2:7, “He was found in all things a man like us,” he ate and drank, was happy and sad. This is what it means to humble and lower oneself. For he could have arranged it so as to become a man like he is now in heaven: He has flesh and blood like us, but does not do what we do. He could have done this from the beginning, but he did not want to do this so as to show his love for us, so that we could rejoice in it, take comfort from it, and glory in it that we have a brother in heaven whom we may
receive, whom we, indeed, should receive…Thus, the reason this account is preached every year is so that every young heart may form this picture in itself and thank God for is, saying: “Things are not bad for me because I have a brother who became like I am.”…All men may glory in this honor. Yet the Christians derive something greater from it afterwards in that they shall enjoy such glory also in eternity. Secondly, this splendid example also serves the following purpose: Christ, the Son of God, humbled himself and invested all his honor for the poor flesh, and the divine majesty that causes the angels to tremble lowered itself to the point of walking about like a poor beggar. While the angels adore him in heaven, he serves us here below and kneels down into our mess. Since, then, the Son of God did this, we, in his praise and honor, should also learn gladly to be humble, to take up our cross, and to suffer all kinds of grief, following him in this way.