An interesting question came up in discussion at our house a couple of months or so back. Why do we celebrate Christmas as the great time of remembering the doctrine of the Incarnation instead of the Annunciation? (A quick googling tells me that the Eastern Orthodox Church does refer to the Annunciation as the Feast of the Incarnation.) After all, Jesus was incarnate for nine months before Christmas. Yet there is no doubt that liturgically we especially think of "God with us," and "the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us" in connection with Christ's birth.
And certainly, the angels seem to agree about the importance of Jesus' birth. They came to the shepherds to announce the birth. "Today is born unto you a Savior which is Christ the Lord."
I think the key to the importance of celebrating Jesus' birth lies in one of the major purposes of the Incarnation. St. John says, "No man hath seen God at any time. The only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." (John 1:18) And just a few verses earlier, John says, "And we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." (emphasis added)
This is emphasized in the lovely carol called "Of the Father's Love Begotten." One line says, "And the babe, the world's redeemer, first revealed his sacred face."
Until Jesus Christ was born, only the Virgin Mary had intimate experience with him. And even she had never seen him. It was in being born that he was first revealed to the world and thus began to fulfill the purpose of revealing God to mankind at large. Thus a child was born unto us; a son was given unto us. Unto man and unto the world.
What do our readers think?