The ancient philosopher Aristotle believed that the idea of God being in friendship with man was ludicrous. He reasoned that friendship requires commonality between the two parties. But God, being infinite, was far too different from us to befriend us – to have a real relationship. There’s no commonality between the infinite and the finite.
But about 350 years after Aristotle lived, something happened…
God became man. We call it the incarnation.
Philippians 2:6-8 puts it this way,
“[Jesus}, who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!”
God, still being infinite, decided to empty himself of his divine attributes and become human – for us.
For only a human could die as a sacrifice for humanity.
The birth of Jesus accomplished what Aristotle thought ridiculous – it established commonality. It made friendship between the infinite and the finite possible.
“Incarnation,” the word theologians use to talk about God becoming man, means “to be made flesh.” Or “to be embodied.” God, a spirit, took on the flesh of humanity. He took on arms and legs, a mouth and ears. He took on hunger and ate food. He didn’t consider it enough to be omnipresent, but embodied his presence with his people.
That’s what makes Christmas so amazing. It’s the gift of God reestablishing a relationship. Becoming one of us so that we can be with Him. And through the season of Christmas, we act out this gift with our friends and family. The presents and the parties aren’t a distraction from the point, as long as we remember the purpose. They actually allow us to become more like Christ. We become servants, givers, and become embodied in the homes of those we love. We spend time with them, eat with them, doing what God has done for us — establishing commonality.