Christmas is a day celebrated throughout the world for its relationship to hope, forgiveness, charity, family and all the other good things. But there’s more too! Hi, I’m Steve Beaman and welcome to this week’s Spiritual Path!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year have been the hallmark words of this season for a very long time indeed. The word Christmas, you may or may not know derives from the middle-ages phrase, “Christ’s Mass”. Well, beginning with the celebration of Jesus’ birth, Christmas has developed rich tradition and is welcomed world-wide. But what’s the real purpose and thought behind Christmas? Well, of course it goes way, way back to thousands of years before Christ (formerly known as BC, now more commonly referred to as BCE or before the common-era whatever that means). The prophets of Israel foretold of a Messiah to come to the Jewish people. A king of kings, who would be subservient only to God. The chapters and verse are too numerous to list here but suffice it to say, prophesy of the Messiah is found in Micah, Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Deuteronomy, and Daniel. These prophets foretold of a coming Son who would free his people from their bondage, but in a greater way than even Moses. But what bondage was referred to in the Prophets writings? The Israelites had been freed from Egypt, so what could this mean?
Well, I have studied and come to the conclusion that the prophets were directly referring to our earthly bondage in sin. It all comes together quite elegantly like a fine puzzle if you read, and explore this enough. From Adam and Eve, we became separated from God the Father because of our imperfection. This imperfection was “cleansed” through the application of sacrifices as surrogates for ourselves. The prophesies told of one who would make the final sacrifice, a lamb without flaw who would willingly give himself for us.
The New Testament books tell of a miraculous birth, a virgin birth to a young woman. That child was to become the lamb that was slain for all of us.
Here is why the Gospels are called just that, the “good news”. I have had many discussions with people who criticize Christianity for being non-inclusive and judgmental. They would rather think of eternity in the light of people’s “goodness”, rather than what they perceive as the harshness of the Christian position. Well, here’s my problem with that. I’m NOT good. It a simple question of the standard we use, right? Compared to Osama Bin Laden, to most I’d be considered “good”, but not to his devoted followers. To most of us, Hitler was considered “bad”, but again, not to his devoted followers. So whether we’re good or bad is totally subjective without a fixed standard, and for me, that standard is God. Now like most people, I try as hard as I can to comprehend the Merry Christmas and happy new year nature of God, and of Jesus, and I can’t. My human three dimensional mind just cannot fathom the notion of “always has been”, or “before time began”. We are just beginning to understand the complexities and wonders of the universe that God breathed into existence. So, although I don’t comprehend it totally, I can accept the notion of God as a perfect standard, whatever Perfect really means, because frankly, I’m not sure I can even comprehend that word really. But with that said, the purpose of the birth of the Messiah was to provide us a bridge back to God. A sacrifice so perfect, and so complete, that we would have a total reuniting with our creator. That bridge is offered FREE to us, and without reservation. It is a complete gift that only asks that we receive it.