Merry Christmas!

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It gives new meaning to King David’s statement in Psalm 8, “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”

Christian theologians refer to the Incarnation as resulting in the “hypostatic union.” The idea is that Jesus is both 100 percent God and 100 percent man. Not any sort of hybrid, but two distinct natures that are fully manifest simultaneously in one person forever. Trying to explain it to the world, works such as On the Trinity by Augustine of Hippo and the ancient Athanasian Creed strove to find language to convey this concept that defies human reason.

This is perhaps the most revolutionary claim of the Christian faith. The world has been fascinated by two millennia by this contention at the core of Christianity: that in the words of Philippians 2, to achieve a mission that Christians say no mere man could accomplish, Christmas celebrates that:

Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Thus began a life in a small town in the Middle East that would thirty-odd years later end in death by crucifixion and that Christians believe was shortly thereafter followed by a physical resurrection on Easter Sunday.