The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you Peace. (Numbers 6: 24-26)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

" incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria virgine..."

Pax vobiscum:

Have you, Dear Reader, ever wondered about the significance of genuflection? Truthfully, most people do not give it much thought, and probably rightly so. Genuflecting, the practice of showing reverence to God by bowing on one knee before God, is not a required part of anyone’s personal piety, but many people consider it an important and tangible way to show deference and respect for our Creator. The same is accomplished with a profound bow (a deep bow made from the hips). The importance of this act of piety resides in its impact upon those who perform it as a means of furthering their relationship with Him who has created them.

You may have noticed, either at Christ Memorial or at another Church you have visited, that during our communal recitation of the Nicene Creed there are those who go down on one knee when we get to this part:

For us and for our salvation
          he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
          he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
          and was made man.
I have heard Christians called “an Easter people”, and that is true because our salvation lies in the death and resurrection of Christ, a sacrifice that He made so that the entirety of Creation might once again be in right relationship with God. But in order to be the Lamb of God whose blood washes us clean, He first had to be a babe, swaddled for warmth against the cool night air and held close to His mother’s breast so that He could feel the safety and comfort of her presence. In order to have Easter, we must first have Christmas. Just as every mother and father should look upon a new child as an extraordinary gift of life, we as a people should look upon this gift of Jesus Christ, born of a virgin so that He might live as one of us and die for our sins, as the greatest gift of all.

Therefore, it is appropriate to genuflect or make a slight bow of the head during the Nicene Creed as a small way of recognizing the significance of the gift of Jesus’ Incarnation to the world. More importantly, however, it reminds us how much God loves us. That He should choose to do this just so that we might gain entry into His Heavenly Kingdom is certainly worthy of acknowledgement not only during this special season of the year, but, indeed, all the year through.

Happy Advent and Merry Christmas, Dear Reader. God bless you and keep you; God make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you; God lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

Fr. Michael+

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