The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
As we consider God living among us as the man Jesus of Nazareth, we see Jesus dying on a cross for our sakes. At that time, crucifixions were ordinary, everyday occurrences—nothing special. And it was not unusual for a good person to die on a Roman cross. Undoubtedly many innocent people suffered such torture at the hands of the oppressive Roman government.
No, Jesus dying on a cross was not particularly noteworthy—unless He was indeed the Word made flesh. If He was God come to us in order to settle something permanently, then the cross and the resurrection were both events that demand our attention and our response.
What makes sense of the crucifixion is the incarnation. Incomprehensibly, God became a person, became flesh. It is God in Christ, God as man, and nobody else, dying on the cross, assuming our sin, who has something to offer to our world.
John 1:14 says, “We have seen his glory.” The apostles and others saw the glory of God in person, who lived among them and spoke to them. In the Christmas manger, we must see the wonder and marvel of the Word made flesh. Jesus’ glory remains veiled to us if we don’t, and thus we trivialize Christmas. But if we see His true glory, then we will worship Him truly.