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

Sermon on Luke 2:41-52

The Sunday after Christmas, I preached on the Lukan passage about Jesus as a young boy, left behind in the Temple.  (There was a great discussion on an earlier post that really helped my preparation.)  Well, here’s the sermon (audio) with slides.  It’s 35 minutes.  Comments welcome!

The Binding of Isaac

The Sacrifice of Isaac by Rembrandt

I’m leading what we call “sermon time” at Solomon’s Porch tomorrow night, and the text is Abraham’s “binding of Isaac.”  I’m most interested in why this story was so intriguing to Kierkegaard that he wrote an entire book, Fear and Trembling, about it.

Has anyone read that?  What are your thoughts?

The First Christmas Sermon

St. John Chrysostom (347-407)

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.

And so the kings have come, and they have seen the heavenly King that has come upon the earth, not bringing with Him Angels, nor Archangels, nor Thrones, nor Dominations, nor Powers, nor Principalities, but, treading a new and solitary path, He has come forth from a spotless womb.

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