Christmas is important to us as Christ’s message is particularly directed at humanity. Christ did not just intend his message for the humanity of his time, but for the humanity of all time.
Jesus is exceptional because of how he came to be, who he was, because of his mission’s purpose, its meaning and, last but certainly not least, because of its glorious end.
His divine birth was prophesied in ancient scriptures. Jesus is the Christ, meaning ‘the anointed one’, a direct emanation of God, also called the ‘Son of God’ or the Logos. The Logos in biblical terms means the nature or existence of God or the mind of God.
The Glory of Creation
Truth, freedom, goodness, the reality of creation, its meaning and purpose are aspects of God and that to which we should aspire, as our highest transcendental principle and as that which we should hold most sacred. These aspects have inherent existence and we do not need science to know or prove them. In fact, for this purpose science is a hindrance. Reality is infused with the divine eternal spirit and therefore exists in the creator’s image and likeness, as we do. This cannot be otherwise, whether we acknowledge it or not.
As Catholics we believe that Jesus was conceived in the womb of Mary by the Holy Ghost. Every birth of every creature on earth has a miraculous element to it. To my mind it is not unreasonable to see the conception of Jesus as being further along the same ‘miraculous’ trajectory as that of a birth conceived between a woman and a man.
Jesus knew from the beginning that he was one with God. He realised his divine potential as he grew older. He declared that he was the Son of God and had come with a message of truth and goodness, mapping out a path from tyranny to freedom, also articulating the meaning and purpose of life. This message resonated with people of good will. He performed miracles and his following grew. The warmongers and the feudal lords of the day saw him as a threat to their dominance. Christ allowed himself to be persecuted and tortured, to be wrongly judged and to be condemned to death by crucifixion.
On the third day after his death, he rose from the grave and appeared to his loved ones and his disciples, revealing himself in all his glory. All this he did to remind us of our origins and the oneness of creation and to show us the path back to the garden.
Like Christ, we also live tormented lives as we battle adversity. We also suffer at the hands of the power-hungry warmongers and the political elites of our day. Sadly, most of us die insufficiently aware of that which Christ came to exemplify.
The Glory of Creation
Now, Christmas has to do with celebrating the birth of Jesus. However, this event cannot be divorced from the way Christ lived whilst in our midst. Christ led by example as a way of directly demonstrating the path to Godliness. This was his purpose. In this context, celebrating Jesus’ birth means following in Christ’s footsteps.
There are some points that we should take home when talking about Christmas.
When your creator incarnates for the specific purpose of communicating something to you, the clever thing to do is listen very carefully.
The liberating experience of freedom arises from knowing ourselves, and the fulfillment of the resulting responsibilities, all else enslaves us.
Christ reduced the commandments in the Old Testament to two quintessential ones: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and “Love your neighbour as yourself”. Loving God is loving your own true nature, your highest transcendental principle. Loving our neighbour means loving the true nature of creation and reality, as reflected by others.
Suffering exists and can be overcome. We will only be successful in doing this if we hold goodness, truth, freedom and the reality of creation, its meaning and purpose as our highest transcendental principle. We should consider all our mundane goals and aspirations as subsidiary to this highest principle, to be acted upon and regarded always and only within the guiding context of this highest principle.
God is not vengeful. We will however be allowed to suffer the consequences of our ill-conceived actions and our narcissistic priorities. Repeated indifference of the highest transcendental principle will result in the hell of ever-increasing chronic suffering. In my opinion these lessons must be learnt, I cannot see another way out.
The Glory of Creation
The shopping, food, alcohol, clothes, the glitz and glamour must be tempered by the highest transcendental principle. If during Christmas we prioritise our mundane desires and actions over the highest transcendental principle of goodness, truth, freedom and the reality of creation, its meaning and purpose, we would in fact be worshipping false gods. In so doing, not only are we foregoing a uniquely precious transcendental benefit, but we are also bringing systemic and hellish pain and suffering upon ourselves and upon future generations.
On the other hand if we understand that Christmas is a time of worship and prayer. A time to offer that which is the best of us, to the highest truth, to the highest good. If we carry through this practice and understanding into our everyday lives, and if we all do this, we will transform the world.
This article was published the the Sunday Times of Malta on the 24th December 2023 “A time for truth and Goodness”
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