Incarnation. If you understand the word incarnation, you’ll understand what Christmas is about.
Christmas is frankly doctrinal. The invisible has become visible, the incorporeal has become corporeal. In other words, God has become human.
This is not only a specific doctrine, but it’s also unique. Doctrine always distinguishes you. One of the reasons we’re afraid to talk about doctrine is because it distinguishes us from others.
Here’s why the doctrine of Christmas is unique. On one hand, you’ve got religions that say God is so immanent in all things that incarnation is normal. If you’re a Buddhist or Hindu, God is immanent in everything. On the other hand, religions like Islam and Judaism say God is so transcendent over all things that incarnation is impossible.
But Christianity is unique. It doesn’t say incarnation is normal, but it doesn’t say it’s impossible. It says God is so immanent that it is possible, but He is so transcendent that the incarnation of God in the person of Jesus Christ is a history-altering, life-transforming, paradigm-shattering event.
– Tim Keller
*Excerpt from Relevant Magazine, “Why Christmas Matters” by Timothy Keller, December 2011