In all the rush and crush and noise of the days leading up to Christmas, it is hard to focus on the One who is the center of it all. It's beyond difficult to think about Him while riding our much maligned public transportation system, especially when someone's elbow is perilously close to your head and you've spotted someone who has managed to bring a parrot on board (see New York Times, New York section, this week.)n

But late in the evening, when you have a few moments for yourself, you might want to meditate on this section of a sermon, that dates back nearly 1,600 years. It was probably composed late at night because its author was busy during the day being the bishop of a busy and often troublesome diocese. It really captures the enormous act of love and generosity by which the second person of the Trinity, became human to save us all

An Augustinian scholar sent this to me. Please accept it as our Christmas gift

The Word of the Father, by whom all time was created, was made flesh and was born in time for us. He, without whose divine permission no day completes its course, wished to have one day for His human birth. In the bosom of His Father, He existed before all the cycles of ages; born of an earthly Mother, He entered upon the course of the years on this day. The Maker of man became Man that He, Ruler of the stars, might be nourished at the breast; that He, the Bread, might be hungry; that He, the Fountain, might thirst; that He, the Light, might sleep; that He, the Way, might be wearied by the journey; that He, the Truth, might be accused by false witnesses; that He, the Judge of the living and the dead, might be brought to trial by a mortal judge; that He, Justice, might be condemned by the unjust; that He, Discipline, might be scourged with whips; that He, the Grape, might be crowned with thorns; that He, the Foundation, might be suspended upon a cross; that Courage might be weakened; that Security might be wounded; that Life might die. To endure these and similar indignities for us, to free us, unworthy creatures, He who existed as the Son of God before all ages, without a beginning, deigned to become the Son of Man in these recent years. He did this although He who submitted to such great evils for our sake had done no evil and although we, who were the recipients of so much good at His hands, had done nothing to merit these benefits. Begotten by the Father, He was not made by the Father; He was made Man in the Mother whom He Himself had made, so that He might exist here for a while, sprung from her who could never and nowhere have existed except through His power.

St. Augustine of Hippo — Sermon 191