The First Christmas Sermon Ever Preached

As a Christmas tradition, I repost this, the first Christmas sermon ever recorded:

John “Golden Mouth” Chrysostom preached the first known Christmas sermon in AD 386 (the same year that Augustine converted to Christianity — what a year!).  In this case, the first is the best.  It both beautifully written and theologically profound. How I would have loved to have heard him deliver it!  I commend it for your reading in the next couple of days.

BEHOLD a new and wondrous mystery. My ears resound to the Shepherd’s song, piping no soft melody, but chanting full forth a heavenly hymn.  The Angels sing.  The Archangels blend their voice in harmony.  The Cherubim hymn their joyful praise.  The Seraphim exalt His glory.  All join to praise this holy feast, beholding the Godhead here on earth, and man in heaven.  He Who is above, now for our redemption dwells here below; and he that was lowly is by divine mercy raised.

Bethlehem this day resembles heaven; hearing from the stars the singing of angelic voices; and in place of the sun, enfolds within itself on every side, the Sun of justice.  And ask not how: for where God wills, the order of nature yields.  For He willed, He had the power, He descended, He redeemed; all things yielded in obedience to God.  This day He Who is, is Born; and He Who is, becomes what He was not.  For when He was God, He became man; yet not departing from the Godhead that is His.  Nor yet by any loss of divinity became He man, nor through increase became He God from man; but being the Word He became flesh, His nature, because of impassability, remaining unchanged.

Read the rest: The First Christmas Sermon.

Behold a Wondrous Mystery

St. John Chrysostom (347-407)

I am posting this on Christmas Eve. Snow is falling, and I’m listening to the live broadcast of the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College, Cambridge. I won’t be reading blogs on Christmas Day, and I’m guessing that many of you will not either. It is my Christmas tradition to post the first known Christmas sermon. A blessed Christmas to you and yours.

John “Golden Mouth” Chrysostom preached the first known Christmas sermon in AD 386 (the same year that Augustine converted to Christianity — what a year!).  In this case, the first is the best.  It both beautifully written and theologically profound. How I would have loved to have heard him deliver it!  I commend it for your reading in the next couple of days.

BEHOLD a new and wondrous mystery. My ears resound to the Shepherd’s song, piping no soft melody, but chanting full forth a heavenly hymn.  The Angels sing.  The Archangels blend their voice in harmony.  The Cherubim hymn their joyful praise.  The Seraphim exalt His glory.  All join to praise this holy feast, beholding the Godhead here on earth, and man in heaven.  He Who is above, now for our redemption dwells here below; and he that was lowly is by divine mercy raised.

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Merry Christmas from John Chrysostom

In 386, John “the Golden Tongue” Chrysostom preached the very first Christmas sermon.  It’s beautiful.  And in spite of the fact that my forbears, the Puritans, refused to celebrate Christmas and punished anyone who did, I read Chrysostom’s sermon every year and revel in the beauty of it.

I encourage you to do the same. You can find it here.

And Merry Christmas to you.

The First Known Christmas Sermon

…was preached by John Chrysostom, he of the “golden tongue,” on Christmas Day, 386.  A preacher tonight or tomorrow morning could do a lot worse than read it in its entirety.  Here’s a taste:

What shall I say to you; what shall I tell you? I behold a Mother who has brought forth; I see a Child come to this light by birth.  The manner of His conception I cannot comprehend.

Read it all here: The First Christmas Sermon


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