The second Sunday before Christmas is dedicated in our Orthodox tradition to the Forefathers of Christ: those holy men and women of the Old Testament revelation who prepared the way of the Lord’s incarnation.
“Among the threats against the Church, Docetism was especially dangerous. It denied the reality of the Incarnation: Christ was not a true man but a kind of human phantasm. Ignatius (Saint of Antioch d. 107AD) seems to be contesting this heresy when he insists that Jesus was truly born from Mary, testifying to the Church’s faith in the reality of the Incarnation and, consequently, the value of Christ’s redemptive action. Mary, then, truly engendered the flesh of Christ; she really carried him in her virginal womb, and his birth is the wondrous result of the Holy Spirit’s direct action in her. This is God’s plan of salvation, which Ignatius calls the ‘economy’, a term that later became routine in the Christian tradition.” (Luigi Gambero, Mary and the Fathers of the Church, pgs. 30-31)
You can find links to all the blogs I have or will post during this year’s Christmas season at 2012 Nativity Blogs.