The challenge for a progressive Christian who has moved beyond such notions as virgin births and gods disguised in human form come to save us from ourselves is to remember that it is as much a historical development, as it is a theological one. That is, the attribution of a “Christ” title accorded a very human Jesus constitutes the imaginations — if not machinations — of an early Church; consisting of very human, second-generation followers of a 1st century Galilean peasant sage and itinerant preacher. And who all but drowned out the authentic voice of the one who was once born and dwelt among humankind.
Such an assertion is simply based on the fact the historical Jesus never self-identified as the “anointed one,” the Christ.
As such, if one were to remove the Christ-title from the various birth narratives of those secondary traditions of this religious movement, what would remain of the “Christmas story” that has become as prevalently assumed, as it has been unexamined? If we took the Christ out of Christmas, what might remain of the voice of one who was born and dwelt among us?
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Christmas is a time to move into the world of
images and dreams, a time to allow the ‘make
believe’ happen. Let us be still and reflective.
What can we learn from the Christmas story? I believe that just as Jesus seemed to be aware of the Divine Spark (or Christ) presence within him, which allowed him to love almost unreservedly and break boundaries, so too we are invited to see this Divine Spark within ourselves. God is literally with us. And isn’t this what we need in today’s world, where we see atrocities and tragedies such as the ones I listed above? If each of us were to acknowledge our inner divinity, and then recognize our neighbour’s inner divinity – regardless of their religious beliefs or non-beliefs – would we then see larger stepping stones toward global peace?read more
The church as we know it came about when one group of believers was opposed by a dissenting group. Then it became necessary for each group to define their concepts of Christianity and to label all others heretics.read more
The way you tell the Christmas story, it all sounds so simple. So simple. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I really like it. It’s just that for so long now people have been telling my story and the way they tell it, it all sounds so simple and easy, so neat and tidy, that I hardly recognize myself in the story. It’s not your fault. It all started a long time ago. Luke and that other fellow Matthew, they started it all. They wrote my story down and wouldn’t you know it they cleaned it all up. But who can blame them. Nobody likes messy birth stories. And as birth stories go, my baby’s birth was a really messy one.read more
Matthew and Luke tell completely different (and contradictory) accounts of the birth of Jesus. Neither are meant to be taken literally. They were writing a theological message (sermon) to introduce their gospels. Where the two agree is that the Jesus they were going to describe was a messenger who would turn the world upside down, casting down the rich and powerful in favor of the weak and poor. There is our real Christmas story, a story of liberation and justice.read more
I support very much the call to ‘create new memories’ for Christmas and I believe the place to begin is with children. However, one of the best known children’s Christmas carols is ‘Away in the Manger’, and this much loved carol has many wrong messages imbedded in the words. The second verse of the traditional words speak of Jesus ‘looking down from the sky’ and the last verse has Jesus up in heaven and the singer requesting him to ‘fit us for heaven to live with you there’. I believe my third verse takes the dualism and the ‘away’ Jesus out and replaces it with the Biblical teaching of very last verse of Matthew – ‘And I will be with you always, to the end of the age’. This surely is the Gospel.read more
A few years back a book called The Secret took the world by storm, and it is still prominently displayed on the shelves of most bookstores today. The message of the book was to invoke the laws of attraction and intention to attain the life and circumstances that we desired. And because of the books popularity I was compelled to grab a copy to see what all the hype was about. As I was reading it I wondered how a book could really promise those kinds of results, and why so many people were swearing by its results. And then it hit me that the best selling book in the history of the world really isn’t all that different. And this got me to wondering if Jesus and King David may have been teaching us this same “secret” thousands of years prior?read more