A scene from the Leben der heiligen Altväter (1482)

Why Christmas is Bigger than EasterThe Incarnation exists for the Atonement, but it is also so much more.

Christianity Today, November 21,2022

Wait … is this actually on the Incarnation? If you take up Athanasius’s fourth-century classic On the Incarnation for your Advent or Christmas reading, you’ll likely find yourself asking this very question. For you’ll soon make the discovery that many Athanasius readers make: On the Incarnation is mostly not about the birth of Jesus.

On the topic of the baby in the manger, Athanasius has only a little bit to say. Everything he does say about it is certifiably mind-blowing: “The incorporeal and incorruptible and immaterial Word of God comes into our realm, although he was not formerly distant. … But now he comes, condescending toward us in his love for human beings.” Merry Christmas!

But most of Athanasius’s narrative energy goes into telling us about the risen Lord who died and now lives forevermore. You might wonder where the Christmas in your Christmas reading went…