Incarnation: A Meditation

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By Mary Abrahamson

Furthermore it is necessary for everlasting salvation that one also believe faithfully the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man;
God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds;  And man of the substance of His mother, born in the world;
Perfect God and perfect Man, of a rational soul and human flesh subsisting.
Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead and inferior to the Father as touching his manhood.
Who, although he is God and Man, yet He is not two but one Christ;
One, not by changing of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking the manhood into God;
One indeed, not by confusion of substance, but by the oneness of person.
For just as the rational soul and flesh is one man, So God and Man is one Christ.
from the Athanasian Creed.  Translation 1996 Evangelical Lutheran Synod

Silent night! Holy night! Son of God, lov’es pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth, Jesus, Lord at they birth.
Jesus, Lord at thy birth, Jesus, Lord at thy birth.  ELH 140:3

“And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” Genesis 3:15

And since the serpent Eve beguiled That she so low had fallen
From God’s true Word, which she defiled, And made us all death’s bondsmen;
Therefore the need Was great indeed, That God should mercy show us
Through His dear Son, On mercy’s throne, And so to life restore us.  ELH 430:2 translation G.A Zeisler, 1936

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.  Isaiah 7:14

Isaiah hath foretold It In words of promise sure,
And Mary’s arms enfold It, A Virgin meek and pure,
Through God’s eternal will  This Child to her is given
At midnight calm and still.  ELH 121:3

“So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:6-7

He came down to earth from heaven,  Who is God and Lord of all,
And His shelter was a stable,  And His cradle was a stall;
With the poor and  mean and lowly  Lived on earth out Savior holy.  ELH 139:2

 

“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.”  Luke 2:8-9

Shepherds in the fields abiding,  Watching o’er your flocks by night,
God with man is now residing, Yonder shines the Infant Light.
Come and worship, Come and worship, worship Christ the newborn King.  ELH 114:2

 

“Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”” Luke 2:10-12

The shepherds heard the story, Proclaimed by angels bright,
How Christ the Lord of Glory, Was born on earth this night.
To Bethlehem they sped.  And in the manger found Him,
As angel heralds said.  ELH 121:3

 

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:  “Glory to God in the highest,  And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:13-14

See, within a manger laid, Jesus Lord of heav’n and earth,
Gloria in excelsis Deo!  Gloria in excelsis Deo!  ELH 116:4

 

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

The Word becomes incarnate And yet remains on high,
And cherubim sing anthems To shepherds form the sky.
Repeat the hymn again!
“To God on high be glory  And peace on earth to men!”   ELH 113:2

 

“Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father.  Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.  But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”  Galatians 4:1-7

And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Jesus, Alas! How can it be So few bestow a thought on Thee
Or on the love, so wondrous great, That drew Thee down to our estate?  ELH 144:4

 

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bond servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11

Christ by highest heav’n adored, Christ the everlasting Lord
Late in time behold Him come, Off spring of the Virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, Hail th’incarnate Diety!
Pleased as man with Man to dwell; Jesus our Immanuel!
Hark! Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”  ELH 125:2

 

“For in Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Colossians 2:6-12

‘Tis flesh like ours He’s clothed, He is clothes in
Though free from man’s primeval sin.  Alleluia, alleluia!
Within the manger doth He lie, doth He lie,
Who reigns eternally on high.  Alleluia alleluia!  ELH 112:6-7
The New Oxford Book of Carols, 1993

 

And I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, Begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, Begotten not made,
Being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made;
Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.
He suffered and was buried and the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures; And ascended into heaven, And is seated at the right hand of the Father;
And he shall come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead;
Whose Kingdom shall have no end.
From the Nicene Creed.  Translation 1996 Evangelical Lutheran Synod

 

God of God, Light of Light, Lo! He  comes forth from the Virgin’s Womb.
Our very God, begotten not created,
O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.  ELH 133:2

 

Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead.
He ascended into heaven, He is seated at the right hand of the Father, God almighty, from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
At whose coming all shall rise again with their bodies and will give an account of their own works.
And they that have done good will enter into life everlasting; and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.

Photo Credit to ElectricDiskSome rights reserved.

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