The True Meaning of Christmas

For if the works of the Word's divinity had not taken place through the body, man would not have been deified. And again, if the properties of the flesh had not been attributed to the Word, man would not have been throughly delivered from them... Yet the Word having now become human and making his own what pertains to the flesh, these things no longer touch the body, because of the Word who has come in it, but they are destroyed by him, and henceforth human beings no longer remain sinners and dead according to their own sufferings, but having risen according to the Word's power, they abide ever immortal and incorruptible. Whence also, whereas the flesh is born from the God-bearer Mary, he himself is said to be born, who furnished to others an origin of being, in order that he might transfer our origin to himself, and that we may no longer, as mere earth, return to earth, but as being knit into the Word from heaven, may be carried to heaven by himself. Therefore, he has similarly transferred to himself the other sufferings of the body also... so that we, no longer being merely human, but as the Word's own, may participate in eternal life... the flesh being no longer earthly, but being henceforth made word through God's Word who for our sake "became flesh."

-- St. Athanasius the Great, Orations Against the Arians 3.33

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