Cynewulf (possibly the 8th century bishop Cynewulf of Lindisfarne) presents the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as a choice given to all mankind: what kind of life do we want in the hereafter, and what are we prepared to do in order to obtain it?
Lift up your heads, O ye gates;
and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors;
and the King of glory shall come in.
OPEN, ye gates! Creation’s King would enter his citadel, would lead into the joy of joys a people (they are no small company) snatched from the devil by his Victory. Affinity shall angels and men have for ever after. There is a covenant together between God and man, a spiritual pledge: love, hope of life, all the joys of light.
Listen! We have heard how that holy child the famous Son of the Measurer, by his advent restored health to us, who dwell beneath the skies, freed us, and kept us free; that now each man living, while yet he remains here, might choose whether
disgrace of hell, or glory of heaven,
light of lights, or hateful night,
exultant choir, or grief in the shadows,
joy of the Lord, or clamour of devils,
punishment with wrath, or glory with honour,
life, or death,
is what he longs to achieve, while flesh and spirit dwell yet in the world. Glory be to the mighty Trinity, and endless gratitude!