When Jesus’ birth was announced to Mary and Joseph there were three expectations: he would take the throne of his ancestor, David; he would save his people from their sins; and he would be called the Son of God.
The Old Testament prophets had identified plenty of failings that were in need of forgiveness - that was expected. And the hope that a Messiah would restore the Davidic dynasty was a well established Jewish expectation. But the idea that a Messiah (a Christ) would be God’s own child was almost entirely unexpected.
We often fail to grasp how shocking that revelation was. God was going to become one of us, and live among us, entirely like us.
Within Christianity we have become accustomed to the idea that Jesus was the Son of God. We seem comfortable with it as a core doctrine. The part that challenges us is that God became the “Son of humanity” (the term that Jesus consistently used to describe himself). We like to think of Jesus as being special, but the central point of Christmas is that he became ordinary.
This month we celebrate the moment when God became utterly human - just as human as you and I. That was, and for many still is, quite unexpected.