The Christmas story focuses on some the deepest mysteries of our faith. It speaks of God becoming human while yet remaining God. It tells of the infinite God contracting into finite space and a specific time zone, becoming as fully human as though he were never divine and yet remaining as fully divine as though he were never human.
The term for this is, the Incarnation – God was manifest in the flesh and lived for a while among us. The origin of this distinctly Christian concept is the Gospels themselves. They tell, in simple and unembellished form, of the angel Gabriel coming to a certain family and revealing the birth of two great figures in religious history – John was to be born to Elizabeth and Jesus to Mary. Both would have a miraculous conception. John because his parents were old and his mother infertile. And Jesus, because he would not have a human father but be born to a virgin mother. John would become a great preacher but Jesus was to be called the Son of God.
The virginity of Mary shows in the Gospel story that this was not merely the creation of a new life, but the coming into the world of the Son of God. There was no procreation in the usual sense. No man was involved in the conception of Jesus, and neither is there any hint in the Gospels of the repulsive notion that God had sexual relations with Mary in order to have a son. The relationship between God the Father and God the Son (and indeed God, the Holy Spirit) is an eternal relationship. Christmas did not give the Father the son he never had, but it brought the eternal Son of the Eternal Father into the world by the agency of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus was, as the Gospel says, the Word made flesh (John 1:14). As the Word of God, Jesus always existed but through the incarnation he came into the world by a miraculous and immaculate virgin birth through the Holy Spirit. And so the Trinity is complete, and revealed in the Christmas story. This, once again, is something utterly unique to Christianity. We hold that God does not exist in a cold arithmetic oneness, but eternally in three divine inter-related persons, all fully divine and clearly distinguishable and yet, at the same time, remaining one person, one God. We do not believe, as we have been falsely accused of believing, in three Gods, but one God.
But how do we put all the pieces of this Christmas mystery together? Simple. God is a God of relationship, and he created us to have a relationship with him. The Christmas story is about God coming to restore a lost humanity back to relationship with himself. And only a fully relational God could or would even want to go that far. Thank God for the Christian revelation!