So much for staying on schedule. This selection is good enough for three days of Christmas. 

sealing-wax-red2bToday the deity imprinted itself on humanity,

so that humanity might also be cut into the seal of divinity. ~ St. Ephrem the Syrian

These are the closing words of St. Ephrem’s first Hymn on the Nativity. Early Christians were described as having God’s seal placed upon them at the time of their baptism. This image of entering into the faith was probably borrowed from II Cor 1:22 and Eph 1:13. However, Ephrem uses this imagery differently, in the Incarnation God unites his being with humankind and thus invites humankind to partake of his very life. This is similar to II Peter 1:4 which says, “God made great and marvelous promises, so that his nature would become part of us. Then we could escape our evil desires and the corrupt influences of this world.” CEV

Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Justin Martyr and Athanasius all drew on this same, mysterious idea. We do not become gods but we enjoy participation in God’s life.

For the Son of God became man so that we might become God. ~ Athanasius of Alexandria