If we have any trouble grasping anything about Christ it is grasping his humanity. Oh, we say we get the idea that Jesus was fully God and fully man. The problem is that we actually choke on the humanity of Christ at times. We create this image of a man walking around with no expressions and emotions who is human in form but not in character. It is a sterile Christ that we create because we fear if we make him too human we will make him sinful. This is the real problem which is because we cannot conceive of humanity without sin because we are sinners ourselves we tend to confuse being human with being sinful.
To get a better understanding we should look at humanity before the fall. Adam has intellect, he makes decisions, he is given a wife which he shows a great deal of passion for with the words he says. This shows Adam as emotional, intelligent and loving before the Fall. Eve shows us that she had desires which we not sinful in themselves but lead het astray because of her lack of knowledge. She desired a better life, had an appreciation for beauty and a desire to be more knowledgeable and wiser. These were her humanity not her sinfulness. We are ignorant and weak simply because we are not omniscient or omnipotent. Human does not necessarily equate to sinful.
Jesus had all these human qualities . Many of them because he chose to have them. He finds himself as truly human. He gets angry, frustrated and shows a desire for self-preservation. These are not sin they are simple human traits. It is this part of how human Christ was that we try to explain away but without them Christ cannot truly represent us as humans. He must be full human yet without sin. In our theology perhaps we should strive more for trying to make Jesus as human as possible and truly tempted but not sinning. Human but not a sinner.
The one thing this bring to us in the Christmas nativity is that Jesus would have cried to note his hunger, he suckled his mother’s breasts to eat and he messed himself and needed changing. Totally vulnerability and dependency is displayed and this is very human. He needed Joseph and Mary to help him live and protect him so it could be well understood on both sides what it meant to be human.
The biggest lesson this teaches is one of understanding. No one can turn to God and say any more: ‘You don’t understand.’ Jesus stands against that. God fully understood us already, but it took Jesus being truly human for us to understand that he understands. Without Christ we could always say: “until you come down here and truly understand what it is to be human, you really cannot understand us.” Now we can no longer make that accusation. We can go to God in all our humanity and know he understands, empathizes and is moved by our finite condition. He has truly been there.