Christmas Lesson One
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Christmas Lesson Two
Christmas Lesson One
1 ¶ Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, when I was in the midst of the captives by the river Chobar, the heavens were opened, and I saw the visions of God.
2 On the fifth day of the month, the same was the fifth year of the captivity of king Joachin,
3 The word of the Lord came to Ezechiel the priest the son of Buzi in the land of the Chaldeans, by the river Chobar: and the hand of the Lord was there upon him.
4 ¶ And I saw, and behold a whirlwind came out of the north: and a great cloud, and a fire infolding it, and brightness was about it: and out of the midst thereof, that is, out of the midst of the fire, as it were the resemblance of amber:
5 And in the midst thereof the likeness of four living creatures: and this was their appearance: there was the likeness of a man Who is Jesus Christ (The Resurrection – David) in them.
6 Every one had four faces, and every one four wings.
7 Their feet were straight feet, and the sole of their foot was like the sole of a calf's foot, and they sparkled like the appearance of glowing brass.
8 And they had the hands of a man Who is Jesus Christ (The Ascension - Daniel) under their wings on their four sides: and they had faces, and wings on the four sides,
9 And the wings of one were joined to the wings of another. They turned not when they went: but every one went straight forward.
10 And as for the likeness of their faces: there was the face of a man Who is the Lord Jesus Christ, God the Immortal Son (The Gospel of Christ – Abraham), and the face of a lion Which is the royal authority, might, power of Jesus Christ through Whom all creation has been created (John – Adam) on the right side of all the four: and the face of an ox Which is the Kenosis (His emptying out of Himself) of Jesus Christ for our recreation and salvation in Him (Luke – Noah), on the left side of all the four: and the face of an eagle Which is the divine spark of conscience of Jesus Christ the Word of God in us (Mark – Everlasting Gospel) over all the four.
11 And their faces, and their wings were stretched upward: two wings of every one were joined, and two covered their bodies:
12 And every one of them went straight forward: whither the impulse of the spirit was to go, thither they went: and they turned not when they went.
13 And as for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like that of burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps. This was the vision running to and fro in the midst of the living creatures, a bright fire, and lightning going forth from the fire.
14 And the living creatures ran and returned like flashes of lightning.
15 ¶ Now as I beheld the livingcreatures, there appeared upon the earth by the living creatures one wheel with four faces.
16 And the appearance of the wheels, and the work of them was like the appearance of the sea: and the four had all one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the midst of a wheel.
17 When they went, they went by their four parts: and they turned not when they went.
18 The wheels had also a size, and a height, and a dreadful appearance: and the whole body was full of eyes round about all the four.
19 And, when the living creatures went, the wheels also went together by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels also were lifted up with them.
20 Whithersoever the spirit went, thither as the spirit went the wheels also were lifted up withal, and followed it: for the spirit of life was in the wheels.
21 When those went these went, and when those stood these stood, and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up together, and followed them: for the spirit of life was in the wheels.
22 And over the heads of the living creatures was the likeness of the firmament, the appearance of crystal terrible to behold, and stretched out over their heads above.
23 And under the firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other, every one with two wings covered his body, and the other was covered in like manner.
24 And I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of many waters, as it were the voice of the most high God: when they walked, it was like the voice of a multitude, like the noise of an army, and when they stood, their wings were let down.
25 For when a voice came from above the firmament, that was over their heads, they stood, and let down their wings.
26 ¶ And above the firmament that was over their heads, was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of the sapphire stone, and upon the likeness of the throne, was the likeness of the appearance of a man Who is Jesus Christ God the Son Incarnate the only Mediator between God and man (Matthew – Moses) above upon it.
27 And I saw as it were the resemblance of amber as the appearance of fire within it round about: from his loins and upward, and from his loins downward, I saw as it were the resemblance of fire shining round about.
28 As the appearance of the rainbow when it is in a cloud on a rainy day: this was the appearance of the brightness round about.
No other feast, not even Easter, was more solemnly proclaimed by the Holy Catholic Church than that of Christ's birth. The dates given in this entry, composed in the 16th century, are historically correct and verifiable. The announcement proclaims the Truth. (The small difference between the Eastern and Western dates is not important.)
"In the 5199th year of the creation of the world, from the time when God in the beginning made out of nothing the heavens and the earth; the 2957th year after the flood; the 2015th year from the birth of Abraham; the 1510th year from Moses and the going-out of the people of Israel from Egypt; the 1032nd year from the anointing of David king; in the 65th week according to the prophecy of Daniel; in the 194th olympiad; the 752nd year from the foundation of the city of Rome; the 42nd year of the rule of Octavian Augustus, all the earth being at peace, in the sixth age of the world: Jesus Christ, the eternal God and Son of the eternal Father, willing to consecrate the world by His most merciful coming, being conceived by the Holy Ghost and nine months having passed since His conception, was born in Bethlehem of Juda of the Virgin Mary, being made man.
THE BIRTHDAY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST ACCORDING TO THE FLESH."
Commenting on this wonderful feastday, Butler's Lives of the Saints continues with the following reflections.
"Christ's life is the gospel reduced to practice. He instructs us at His very birth, beginning first to practice, then to preach. The manger was His first pulpit, and from it He teaches us the cure of our spiritual maladies. He came among us to seek our miseries, our poverty, our humiliation, to repair the dishonor our pride had offered to the Godhead, and to apply a remedy to our souls. And He chose a poor mother, a little town, a stable. He who adorns the world and clothes the lilies of the field beyond the majesty of Solomon is wrapped in clouts and laid in a manger. This He chose to be the very sign of His identity. `This shall be a sign to you', said the angel to the shepherds. `You shall find the child wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger.' It is a powerful instruction.
'The grace of God our Saviour hath appeared to all men, instructing us', says the Apostle,`all men, the rich and the poor, the great and the small, all who desire to share His grace and His kingdom, instructing us in the first place in humility.' What is the whole mystery of the Incarnation but the most astonishing humbling of the Deity? To expiate our pride the eternal Son of God divests Himself of His glory and takesthe form of man in his every circumstance save sin. Who would not think that the wholecreation would be overwhelmed with the glory of His presence and tremble before Him? But nothing of this was seen. `He came not', says St. John Chrysostom, `so as to shake the world at the presence of majesty; not in thunder and lightning as on Sinai; but He came quietly, no man knowing it. "`
But do Thou O Lord have mercy upon us,
Thanks be to God.
Our Help is in the Name of the Lord,
Who made the heavens and the earth.
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