What is the meaning of Christmas? Its quite simple – Matthew expresses it in just a couple of sentences in his gospel:
She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins…they will call him “Immanuel” which means, “God with us.”
“God with us” will save his people from their sins. This is the true meaning of Christmas. But how does that happen? How does God being with us rescue us from our sins? T.F. Torrance sheds some light on how Jesus, “God With Us,” does this.
We must think of the work of the cross [salvation], therefore beginning immediately with his birth, increasing in his growth into manhood, and deepening in intensity as he entered his public ministry. His whole life is his passion, for his very incarnation as union with God and man is his passion, for his very incarnation as union of God and man is an intervention into the enmity between God and mankind….
That is the life of the Son of Man who grows up as the one and the many from cradle to manhood, and that is the life of the Son of Man as he presses toward the cross through all the years of his loving ministry of forgiveness and healing. If at last it was with joy that he endured the awful cross and all that it meant in the ultimate contradiction between God and humanity, then it was with joy too that he lived the life which in being lived carried him straight to the cross from the cradle. (Incarnation 110-111)