He loved us so much that took upon himself our nature

IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

John 1:1-5, 11-14 (KJV)

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An icon of the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.”

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On Sundays of the Plagal of the Fourth Tone (such as today), there is a profound Dogmatic Theotokion praising the incarnation. In the post below, the hymn is in bold, interspersed with some passages from the writings of St Maximus the Confessor.

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HOW shall we not bless thee (Lk 1:48), O Theotokos? How shall we not raise hymns, O More than Blessed, unto the incomprehensible mystery of thy pregnancy!

THE great Apostle bore clear witness to this, when he said: “The mystery hidden from generations is now revealed” (1 Cor 2:6-8).

Quite clearly he means this of Christ, the mystery relates to Christ: this is, very plainly, the inexpressible and incomprehensible personal union of divinity and humanity.

Answers to Thalassios, Question 60 (MPG 90.620D).

For the Maker of the ages, and the Fashioner of our nature, having compassion upon his own image (cf. Gen 1:26), lowered himself to that state of no reputation (Phil 2:7) which none may search out.

IN the beginning, man was created in the image of God (Gen 1:26), to be totally born in the Spirit according to free choice, and to obtain being in the likeness by keeping the divine commandments…

This immaterial, divine and divinizing birth did the first man let fall, preferring that which is pleasant and appears to the senses, to intelligible goods not yet manifest. …

Wishing to liberate man, and lead him back up to divine good fortune, the Word who fashioned the nature of men truly becomes man from among men, and is born bodily without sin (Heb 4:15), and is baptized (Mk 1:9-11).

He who is God by substance and Son of God by nature willingly underwent spiritual birth by adoption for our sakes, to cancel out the birth which comes from bodies (Jn 3:3).

On Ambiguous Passages, to John, No. 42 (MPG 91.1348)

He who was in the immaterial bosom of his Father (Jn 1:18), made his dwelling-place in thy womb O Pure One, and without change became flesh from thee, thou that knew not wedlock, remaining that which he was – God by nature.

HE loved us so much more than himself, if it is right to say so (and even though we were enemies through sin), that he came without change into our substance, though he was above every substance, and took upon himself our nature in a manner surpassing substance, and became man.

Answers to Thalassios, Question 64 (MPG 90.725B)

Thus we worship him as perfect God, and perfect man, each in its own fashion: for each nature is truly what it is in itself. But all his natural properties we proclaim to be twofold, due to the twofold character of his essences, revering his two energies and wills.

IT is in accordance with both those natures from which, and in which, and as which he was a Person, that he was recognised as willing and working our salvation.

From one side, he designed it in joint consent with the Father and the Spirit.

From the other, “he became obedient to the Father even unto death, death on a cross” (Phil 2:8), working the great matter of his providential care for us (τῆς είς ἡμᾶς οἰκονομίας) through the flesh, with his own hand.

To the Presbyter Marinos (MPG 91:68D)

For he is consubstantial with the Father, and wills and acts without restriction as God, but he is also consubstantial with us, and wills and acts without restriction as man.

THE Saviour thus as man had a natural will, which bore the imprint of his divine will, and was not contrary to it.

To the Presbyter Marinos (MPG 91:48D)

Beseech him, O All-Blessed Lady, to save our souls.

WE experience divinization, then, as something which is according to grace above nature, but which we cannot put into effect ourselves. … We receive it in such a way as to experience it as a free gift (cf. Rom 5:18).

Answers to Thalassios, Question 22, Scholion 5 (MPG 90.324A)

NB These are all my own very inexpert translations. Theotokion from Analogion.

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