What is Christmas about? Christmas is about the incarnation of the glory of God. Allow me to unpack this.
What is the glory of God? The glory of God is the display of all that he is. Each of God’s attributes (e.g., holiness, goodness, justice, etc.) tell us what God is like; they tell us about who he is. The glory of God is the display of his attributes, of all that he is. To use an imperfect analogy, on December 25, 800 A.D., when Pope Leo III crowned Charles the Great (Charlemagne) the Holy Roman Emperor, he placed a crown of jewels on his head. Each of these jewels that made up the crown ultimately displayed the beauty and radiance of the crown. The jewels were the glory or radiance of the crown. The glory of God, then, is the display of all that he is.
How does the glory of God relate to Christmas? Christmas is simply the incarnation—the flesh embodiment—of the glory of God. How? Like jewels on a crown that display the radiance of its beauty, Jesus “is the radiance [or brightness] of God’s glory” (Hebrews 1:3). When the second person of the Trinity took on flesh in the incarnation, the radiance or brightness of God’s glory was on display for all the world to see. This is why Jesus tells Philip: “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father” (John 14:9).
Christmas, then, is about so much more than gifts, family, and ham. Christmas is about even more than a cute little baby in a manger. Christmas is about the fullest and brightest display of God’s glory ever. It’s no wonder then that the angels proclaim: “glory to God in the highest” (Luke 2:14). “Gloria in excelsis Deo!”