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Preface II of The Nativity of the Lord
For more information on the Preface in general, see The Eucharistic Prayer (2) and The Eucharistic Prayer (3)
This preface describes the mystery of the Nativity as full of awe. Does the Nativity fill us with awe?
The restoration of all things in the Incarnation
When God created Adam and Eve he put them at the head of all of visible creation as its stewards (see Genesis 1:29–31). Creation’s purpose was to help them grow and thrive as they grew in love for God. Humanity was also part of that creation, and Adam and Eve were responsible for all their posterity.
Then they Fell and ruined creation. The good purposes of creation became as twisted as the purposes of its former masters, and something good was used badly, preventing it from achieving its true purpose and its true potential: to help lead us to and unite us with God.
Humanity had no way out of its predicament, and creation didn’t either. Adam and Eve had been entrusted with something and had squandered it, broken it.
“For on the feast of this awe-filled mystery, though invisible in his own divine nature, he has appeared visibly in ours; and begotten before all ages, he has begun to exist in time; so that, raising up in himself all that was cast down, he might restore unity to all creation and call straying humanity back to the heavenly Kingdom.”
With the Incarnation Christ has assumed human nature, and, like any human being conceived in his or her mother’s womb, he begins his gestation as any baby would, and is born as a beautiful baby boy. The invisible God took flesh in his mother’s womb and is now born for everyone to plainly see. God is now within view after ages of separation, and within view in a way he never was before: as human.
By assuming human nature Our Lord has given humanity a new chance, and all of creation along with it. He is the New Adam, taking up the stewardship of creation, including humanity, and putting it back on track to glory, a glory that goes beyond this world. Everyone cast down by the Fall has the opportunity to get back on their feet in Christ. Sin used material realities badly to serve selfish and futile purposes, fleeting satisfaction that separated us from God. In Christ humanity is reunited with God and taught how to use material realities again for good.
One of the classical arguments for the need for the sacraments is that since man fell through material realities it is only fitting that through material realities he be healed and restored in Christ. In the celebration of the Eucharist we gather together and marshal creation—signs, vestments, people, bread, wine, etc.—to praise and glorify its Creator again.
Our Lord has made that possible, thanks to his Incarnation. Awesome.
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