Don't confuse 'incarnation' with 'reincarnation' which is the belief that after death the person is reborn into a new body.
Don't confuse 'incarnation' with 'resurrection' which is the belief that after death the person's body comes alive again.
Apart from being the promised Messiah, Christians also believe that Jesus is the 'Son of God'. Luke's story says that the Angel Gabriel told Mary her child would be 'Son of the Most High' and that because she had conceived him by the Holy Spirit, he would also be called 'Son of God'.
From the very beginning Christians have debated about precisely what this means (more on this to follow in Extras).
Mainstream Christianity teaches that Jesus was both fully human and fully divine (God). The word they use to describe this is incarnation - 'in the flesh'. Christians believe that God came down from Heaven in Jesus to share in our humanity. "He became like us, so that we might become like him" as one writer put it. (Gregory of Nazianzus)
This idea is a very powerful one for Christians. They believe that it was out of God's love and care for humanity that he was prepared to share in our existence and suffer a humiliating death on the cross in order to raise us up so that we might, as John's Gospel puts it “become children of God... the offspring of God himself” (John 1.12-13). This is why Christmas, the celebration of the incarnation, is so important for Christians today.
© Mr.B at Woodford County High School