Recently, when my wife shared with me how someone had been super unkind to her (the details aren’t mine to share), something within me wanted twice the suffering to be visited on this person … I may have even half-jokingly talked about going all vigilante ninja, to avenge Lisa, on said individual. That it’s natural and normal for me to do this makes me realize the original Christmas message is still so bold and beautiful, it has the power to transform my life, your life, and the world!
Christmas is the Christ’s mass, meaning it’s the feast wherein we celebrate the coming of Jesus the Christ. A major reason Jesus came was to proclaim the Truth. In John 14.6 he famously says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life”, which, it seems to me, are interrelated and inseparable. The question is: What is the Truth Jesus came to announce? Inspired by and partially borrowing from author/pastor Brian Zahnd, here’s how I’d put the Truth according to the Christ:
We’ve been captured by the lie that the world and life revolve around an axis of power fueled by violence. The Truth, though, is the universe, and reality, revolves around an axis of Love expressed by forgiveness.
The message of Christmas is one of divine love. Divine love, which I write as “Love”, is the giving of oneself for thriving and flourishing. Love is including, valuing, and caring for others. Love seeks the highest good for all. Love celebrates every being. This is bolder than we want because it leaves no room for fear, exclusion, division, violence, and hate.
Even as I typed “fear, exclusion, division, violence, and hate”, I thought to myself “Duh! I don’t believe in or do those things.” Hmm. Or do I? As evidenced by my short share at the beginning, something in me defaults to those categories. Another way to put it is our culture’s obsession with competing, comparing, winning, owning, commanding, and so on infects our spirits. TV shows, movies, advertisements, businesses, schools, sports, and such preach a message of comparison (power) and competition (violence). This lie the world tells us is so widespread and nonchalant, it’s literally programmed our minds without us realizing it! We’re “hardwired” to believe we need to have the most toys, best position, most beautiful body, greatest partner, biggest house, best parties, etc. to “win” at life.
The Truth of Love, though, reveals the practice and mentality of consuming, competing, and comparing leads to suffering, because not only will someone have, do, and be more than me, whenever I need to win, someone else must lose. The path of power and violence (aka the world’s usual way) is inevitably a lose-lose situation. I don’t know about you, though, but I bought into it hook, line, and sinker, which is why I think the Christmas message is more beautiful than imaginable.
Christmas is a remembrance and celebration of God becoming a human to be with us. The Spirit is like a stalker in that the Divine is so deeply in love and obsessed with us, God is always and forever pursuing and coming toward us to be our heavenly Mom/Dad/Sister/Brother. The beauty of this is it means our Creator is for us, the Universe is on your side, and Life is rigged in our favor… even the person who hurt Lisa and part of me wanted to hurt back! May the Christmas message grant us both deep soul peace and heartfelt inspiration this season.
Grace and peace,