WE CAME to have a working knowledge of that cosmic crash which the theologians call the fall of man. At last we knew why God himself had to come into the world to set things right. He came because things were so wrong. We realized, too, why it cost his life to set things right—he came to a world beyond redemption by means of exhortation. The knowledge radically altered the Christian year for us. Christmas became the way things ought to be, while Good Friday underlined the way things actually were.
Gale D. Webbe, The Night and Nothing

GOD DID NOT send a subordinate to redeem us. He chose to do it himself.
Alister McGrath, Knowing Christ

IN CHRIST two natures met to be thy cure.
George Herbert, An Offering

AS CHRISTIANS … we have a … wonderful story of a divine border crossing at the heart of our faith. In the great mystery of the Incarnation, God does not merely bring fire to earth to ease the cold and dark of mortal life, but sacrificially gives the divine Life itself, that we may live with God forever… . God chooses not only to save the world, but to do so by becoming one of us, by becoming human.
Deborah Smith Douglas, "Border Crossings" in Weavings

THOUGH THERE WERE auspicious signs that preceded and accompanied his birth, preparing the world for the majestic and kingly, the birth of Jesus itself was of the humblest peasant parentage, in an unimportant town, and in the roughest of buildings. He made a career of rejecting marks of status or privilege: He loved lepers, washed the feet of his disciples, befriended little children, encouraged women to join his entourage, and, finally, submitted to crucifixion by a foreign power.
Eugene H. Peterson, Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work

GOD SURPRISES Earth with heaven, Coming here on Christmas Day.
John L. Bell and Graham Maule, "Who Would Think (God's Surprise)" in Heaven Shall Not Wait

THE HINT half guessed, the gift half understood, is Incarnation.
T. S. Eliot, The Dry Salvages

"HIC INCARNATUS Est." … Hic. Here the Word became flesh … . Here. The infinite accepted limits. Why? So that a limited creature—me, for one—might accept limits too… . God's love for me, manifest in this man, is a gift, not a reward. Grace, not salary… . It was not my commitment to God that mattered, but God's to me. And that commitment simply cannot be broken.
James Carroll, An American Requiem: God, My Father, and the War that Came Between Us

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IF YOU WANT to get the hang of it [incarnation], think how you would like to become a slug or a crab.
C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Related Elsewhere:

More Christmas articles are available from our Christmas page.

Past Christmas season Reflections columns include:

Word Made Flesh (December 20, 2002)
Following the Star (Dec. 23, 2003)
Advent (Dec. 10, 2003)
Life After Christmas (December 26, 2001)

Books quoted from in this column include The Night and Nothing, Knowing Christ, An Offering, Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work, Heaven Shall Not Wait, An American Requiem: God, My Father, and the War that Came Between Us, and Mere Christianity. They are available from,, and other book retailers.

Past Reflections columns include:

The Way of Salvation (Nov. 08, 2004)
Sin and Evil (Oct. 18, 2004)
Teaching and Learning (Sept. 15, 2004)
Wisdom for the Road (Aug. 02, 2004)
Discipleship (July 13, 2004
Conversion (June 09, 2004)
The Outpoured Spirit (May 03, 2004)
He Is Risen (April 08, 2004)
Jesus' Cross (March 15, 2004)
Lenten Inventory (Feb. 25, 2004)
Following the Star (Dec. 23, 2003)
Advent (Dec. 10, 2003)
Wisdom for Ministry (Nov. 10, 2003)
Discerning God's Will (Oct. 6, 2003)
Work and Vocation (Sept. 17, 2003)
Bumper Sticker Theology (July 30, 2003)
Songs from the Soul (July 8, 2003)
Walk Humbly (May 28, 2003)
Mercy (May 8, 2004)
Cross and Resurrection (April 16, 2003)
Justice (March 18, 2003)
Sex, Love, and Marriage (Feb. 14, 2003)
Mountaintop Spirituality (January 23, 2003)
Word Made Flesh (December 20, 2002)
Desert Springs (November 25, 2002)
Matters of the Mind (October 16, 2002)
Bumper stickers (August 6, 2002)
Preaching (July 18, 2002)
Prayer (June 24, 2002)
Suffering and Grief (May 20, 2002)
Writers and Words (April 18, 2002)
Crucifixion (March 28, 2002)
God's Mission (February 13, 2002)
On Enemies (January 8, 2002)
Life After Christmas (December 26, 2001)

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