This is the highest, all-embracing benefit
that Christ has bestowed upon us.
This is the revelation of the mystery,
this is the emptying-out of the divine nature,
the union of God and man,
and the deification of the manhood that was assumed.
This radiant and manifest coming of God to men
most certainly needed a joyful prelude
to introduce the great gift of salvation to us.
The present festival —the nativity of the Theotokos—
is that prelude,
while the final act is the foreordained union
of the Word with flesh.
Today the Virgin is born, tended and formed,
and prepared for her role as Mother of God,
that God who is the universal King of all the ages!

from a discourse of St. Andrew of Crete
from today’s Office of Readings for 8 September