A Christmas Message from Athanasius

Part of my personal observance of Christmas includes reading “On the Incarnation” by Saint Athanasius. Much of my worship during this busy season is more like running a show, so I need to do something like this renew my own mind.

Ikone_Athanasius_von_AlexandriaAthanasius lived in Alexandria, Egypt during the fourth century. He was an ardent defender of the orthodox faith against the Arian heresy, and championed the creed that was to later come out of Nicaea (the Nicene Creed).

“On the Incarnation” is a short treatise that outlines Athanasius’ beliefs about man, corruption, and salvation through the birth and death of Jesus Christ. (Remember, incarnation means something like, “making flesh.”) Here is a little taste of Athanasius for your Christmas celebration:

You know how it is when some great king enters a large city and dwells in one of its houses; because of his dwelling in that single house, the whole city is honored, and enemies and robbers cease to molest it. Even so it is with the King of all; He has come into our country and dwelt in one body amidst the many, and in consequence the designs of the enemy against mankind have been foiled, and the corruption of death, which formerly held them in its power, has simply ceased to be. For the human race would have perished utterly had not the Lord and Savior of all, the Son of God, come among us to put an end to death.

-Athanasius, “On the Incarnation” chapter 9

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