Sunday, December 25, 2005

A Christmas Day Blessing by An Ancient Christian Poet

A Christmas Day poem by Prudentius (c. 348-c. 410), Latin poet and hymn-writer who devoted his later life to Christian writing. He wrote didactic poems on the theology of the incarnation, against the heretic Marcion and against the resurgence of paganism.

"Mother Yet Virgin"
A heavenly fire engenders him, not flesh
Nor blood of father, nor impure desire.

By power of God a spotless maid conceives,
As in her virgin womb the Spirit breathes.
The mystery of this birth confirms our faith
That Christ is God: a maiden by the Spirit
Is wed, unstained by love; her purity
Remains intact; with child within, untouched
Without, bright in her chaste fertility,
Mother yet virgin, mother that knew not man.
Why, doubter, do you shake your silly head?
An angel makes this known with holy lips.
Will you not hearken to angelic words?
The Virgin blest, the shining messenger
Believed, and by her faith she Christ conceived.
Christ comes to men of faith and spurns the heart
Irresolute in trust and reverence.
The Virgin’s instant faith attracted
Christ into her womb and hid him there till birth.

The Divinity of Christ 566–84.
(Vol. 3: Luke. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture NT 3. (Page 15). Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.)

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