Rise You That Sleep
“It is called the Lord’s birthday when the wisdom of God presented itself to us as an infant, and the Word of God without words uttered the flesh as its voice. And yet the hidden divinity was signified to the wise men by the evidence of the heavens, and announced to the shepherds by the voice of an angel. And so we celebrate this day every year with great solemnity, because on it was fulfilled the prophecy which said,
Truth has sprung from the earth, and Justice has looked forth from heaven (Ps 84:12).
Truth, which is the bosom of the Father (Jn 1:18), has sprung from the earth, in order also to be in the bosom of his mother. Truth, by which the world is held together, has sprung from the earth, in order to be carried in a woman’s arms. Truth, on which the bliss of the angels is incorruptibly nourished, has sprung from the earth, in order to be suckled at breasts of flesh. Truth, which heaven is not big enough to hold, has sprung from the earth, in order to be placed in a manger.
For whose benefit did such sublimity come in such humility? Certainly for not of his own; but, if we are believers, totally for ours. Wake up, mankind, for your God became man!
Rise, you that sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ will enlighten you (Eph 5:14). For you, I repeat, God became man. You would have died for eternity, unless he had been born in time. You would never be set free from the flesh of sin, unless he had taken to himself the likeness of the flesh of sin (Rom 8:3). You would have been in the grip of everlasting misery, had it not been for the occurrence of this great mercy. You would not have come back to life, unless he had adjusted himself to your death. You would have faded away, if he had not come to the rescue. You would have perished, if he had not come.“
From Sermon 185, Saint Augustine