2. The pre-eternal and uncircumscribed and almighty Word is now born according to the flesh, without home, without shelter, without dwelling, and placed as a babe in the manger, seen by men’s eyes, touched by their hands, and wrapped in layers of swaddling bands. He is not a spiritual creature coming into being after previously not existing; nor flesh which is brought to birth but will soon perish; nor flesh and mind united to form a rational creature, but God and flesh mingled unconfusedly by the divine Mind to form the existence of one theandric hypostasis, who entered the Virgin’s womb for a time. By the good pleasure of the Father and the co-operation of the Spirit, the Word who transcends being came into being in this womb and by means of it, and now He is delivered from it and born as an infant, not loosing but preserving the signs of virginity. He is born without suffering, as He was conceived without passion, for as His mother was shown to be above the pleasure of passion when she conceived, so she is above grievous pains when she gives birth. “Before the pain of travail came upon her, she escaped it”, as Isaiah says (cf Isa. 66:7 LXX), and she brought forth in the flesh the pre-eternal Word. Not only is His divinity inscrutable, but the manner in which He was united with flesh is past understanding, His condescension unsurpassable, and the human nature He assumed divinely, ineffably sublime, and so far above all thought and speech, that it does not admit of any comparison with creation. Even though you see in the flesh the child born to the Maid who knew no husband, He is still beyond compare. It says, “He is fair in beauty beside the sons of men” (cf Ps. 45:2 LXX). It does not say “fairer” but simply “fair”, so as not to compare incomparable things: the nature of God Himself to that of mere men. — St. Gregory Palamas, Homily Fifty-Eight on the Saving Nativity According to the Flesh of Our Lord and God and Savior
One of the more indescribably awesome aspects of Christmas that often gets overlooked is the reality that the ineffable, invisible and uncontainable God is now seen and touched. He who cannot be circumscribed by the heavens is now held in His mother’s arms and fed by her milk. The sheer wonder of this reality is expressed by the only icon the Orthodox Church has of God the Father:
Yes, I know, it is an icon of Christ; however, note the title of the icon: Παντοκράτορ or Almighty. Now look at the opening sentence of the Nicene Creed, where we declare the characteristics of God the Father:
Πιστεύω εἰς ἕνα Θεόν, Πατέρα, Παντοκράτορα, ποιητὴν οὐρανοῦ καὶ γῆς, ὁρατῶν τε πάντων καὶ ἀοράτων.
I believe in one God, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.
The title of the icon of Christ normally found in the dome of most Orthodox Churches is a title we ascribe to God the Father. Christ Himself tells us of this truth:
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? — John 14:9-10
Wonder, marvel and rejoice at the love of God, who was willing to condescend to be born in manger, seen by the eyes of men and touched by their hands. Amen.