We mark the Lord’s birth every year for at least three reasons: first, Scripture gives a lot of space to it. Jesus’ birth is the subject of Old Testament prophecies, and two of the writers of the New Testament (Matthew and Luke) narrate the story in considerable detail.
Second, the birth is not just a sentimental story about a girl who was forced to have her baby in a barn, or about wise men riding into town on camels, or shepherds watching their flocks by night. It was the occasion when, Paul says, “God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law” (Gal. 4:4). That statement is just a sample from texts that brings us to the third reason for celebrating the birth of Jesus: its profound significance, summed up in the word incarnation.
That word means, as John says, “The Word became flesh. . . . the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). The same paragraph adds, “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God . . . has made him known” (John 1:18).
Christmas is not about a mere baby. It is about God breaking into a broken world as a human being, in order to redeem lost humanity from sin’s terrible consequences.