Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Knot of Christmas

The knot that is Christmas grows larger year by year. The news reports center on the consumption. The reporters issue their prognostication of the economy based on our remarkable ability to buy product. I have no quarrel. The consumerism can fuel a substantial economy and signal our general economic health. It’s okay with me if Target, Wal-Mart and Sak’s celebrate. In the end it’s a positive signal about our welfare.

The more spiritual among us lament that the true meaning of Christmas has been lost.

The scrooges like me wonder why the fuss is so elaborate in any case. Troops long to be at home. The lonely remain lonely. The ladies of the mall re-appear each year with broad smiles accompanied by reindeer and Christmas tree festooned sweatshirts, jingly ornaments secured through their ears. Men wearily trudge along behind the reindeered shirts.

And so we wonder about the knot that is Christmas, and its meaning.

I had a fierce conversation not long ago with a friend that takes issue with those that allege they are ‘born again’ and issue the proclamation in public. She is a lib that like many libs laments the religious right. For her, the phrase ‘born again’ does not necessarily describe the process of being renewed in the teachings of Christ, but rather is representative of a temporary spirit of politic, a way of dividing those around her into the dems and the repubs, or the libs and the cons.

It might sound as though I am being critical. I’m not. The protestant religious right too often uses the phrase ‘born again’ to judge against the rights of others to believe what they believe. This same friend of mine believes in the ‘universe’ and she prays to the ‘universe.’ That’s alright by me, I do the same. I also believe with an abundance of certainty in the deity of Christ.

Are they not the same? This is the argument I presented to my friend. She told me she believes the universe offers up the good and we must be in accord with the universe for our spirit to function perfectly and for our spirit to be free of ego. I agreed. I also believe this is what Jesus taught. If we accept Jesus as our guide and our path to God have we not accepted what my friend already accepts and acknowledges?

Has my friend likewise inadvertently accepted Jesus’ teachings as a path?

When we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we are in my mind creating acknowledgment of a person that operated in near perfect knowledge of the universe. This is the essence of what will make a perfect world is it not, and what my friend proposes as a spiritual goal?

In this way the spirit of Jesus is ‘born again’ at Christmas each year, a gift to the universe that continues in meaning and teaching. It is a gift that reminds us that we might also be born anew to the universe as my friend is daily re-born to her possibilities within the universe. In the end, aren’t we all re-born each day into our possibilities?

This is the small counsel I offer in untying the knot of Christmas. Perhaps those smug in their ‘born-again ness’ might accept that the spiritual souls of our universe no matter their religious teaching, might be fully embracing the concept of being ‘born anew’, yet it remains transparent to your ‘holier than thou’ exhortations. And to those that lament and wring their hands over the ‘born-agains’ among us; they might be just like you don’t you see? They are only stating their spiritual understanding in a way that makes sense for them.

If we find a universal voice, one that includes Jesus, the universe and the kitchen sink, and if it includes the ‘all good’ that is self apparent to the spiritually awake, is this not enough for anyone? Can the knot be untied? Can we find the opportunity to acknowledge that the birth of Jesus reminds us all of the opportunity to be ‘born again’ in the spirit of love and acceptance? When those we love hand us a gift this season, or when we hand a gift to another, maybe instead of dwelling on the commercialism of the season, we might instead allow it to remind us not only of the gift offered by the Creator, but the gift of acceptance and understanding with which we are ‘born again’?

May the knot lie untied at our feet.

Each year.


Anonymous said...

Oh, what a beautiful post! Yes. Just yes.

Thanks for putting it so simply.

Jenn said...

Nice usage of "abundance of certainty".

I was puzzling on this regards to my daughter. Not the "holier than thou" business...that's another issue.

But the meaning of Christmas. Now I have an answer...I'm going to swipe these words right from your heart and mold them into something I can use for her. It's perfect already so not much molding....more teaching, I guess.

Thanks again Seven.

Seven said...

Lynilu and Jenn,
I am blessed by you both. I consider your presence here to be my gift from the universe.

~Deb said...

Interesting post. I’m a total contradiction to the word “born again”. For one, I’m gay and two I believe that Christ saved me. So, with that, stirs up a whole can of worms with the “born agains” who believe that being homosexual is an abomination., Bible references and other things that back up their statements are merely words that were taken out of context to describe the sin of promiscuity. (This is what “I believe”…)

I respect all religions. I think everyone has their own right to have their faith in whatever makes them happy. There is no scientific proof of “God”----other than blind faith. And that’s what we have to go on. For me, I have had spiritual encounters that make me believe that God is true…”for me.” I can’t say that God is true for anyone else though. That’s not my right. God doesn’t want us judging others.

Here’s my theory though… Please take it with a gain of salt. In my strong Christian beliefs, I feel that the universe is something that God created. When people worship “material things”----including the universe which is not spiritual in the eyes of most religions- this is called idolizing. (Which is worshipping an object or something other than a spiritual nature.) I have a very close friend of mine who is Buddhist. She also believes that whatever you put into the universe, will be given back to you by the universe. Her “universe” is her God. I never judge her or tell her she’s wrong. Who am I to even go that route? I can’t. But, I simply state my point of view to her, and my beliefs, and she does the same. It makes for great conversation and a healthy debate, if both parties can just respect the other person and what that person believes in strongly.

There are so many closed minded “Christians”----and “born agains” out there, that it’s sickening. They only see ONE view. They have to realize that there are MANY MANY views. This doesn’t mean they have to believe it…it just means that there should be some respect to those who think and believe differently.

Sorry for the long comment. I wanted to put in my two cents.

Happy Holidays!

patti_cake said...

I agree. When Maddie gets just a little older we plan on taking her at Christmas and having her donate some of her clothes and brand new toys to someone less fortunate, anonymously. I really want to teach her to help others but do it quietly, for the quiet joy in your heart not the public fanfare or kudos. Sorry I got off track of your post didn't I but this sprang to mind as I read.

Seven said...

Hi Deb,
Long comments can be good. One of the reasons I write here is to hear the feedback from others. I think my friend also sees the universe as her God. At the end of the day the word "god" was invented by man and is simply another word in Websters.
I, like you, have had moments of prayer and conclusive answer that leave me without doubt about the existence of my God.
Your comments to some degree echo the comments of my friend whom I consider remarkably bright, caring and spiritual.
What I hoped to convince her of (and failed) is that the born agains, while zealous, offer the same approach to wholeness that many who worship the universe offer. Their are more similarities in my mind than differences if we look at the 'whole of good'.
The idea that homosexual relationships are more sinful than heterosexual relationships is for each to decide for themselves. The judgment is more the issue that aggravates, as you wisely observe. Funny, I have areas of disagreement with the born again community regarding sexuality on many scores. For the record, you are in an 'acceptance' zone here. I scrubbed that area of my brain clean many years ago. Thanks for caring enough to tell me what you think.

Where have you been girl?....I can always count on your practicality and your gentle nature, your child will be blessed with the same I am certain.

~Deb said...

You asked, ...Is it possible that the mind and God are all the same?"

Very possible! In my beliefs, I do think that God is in all of us- therefore, being our minds.

So yeah, I totally agreed with your comment on my blog.

I do feel that many radical Christians/fundamentalists will spew the word of God in a negative light, discouraging many to come to Him. But, I think it's important to "share" beliefs, not force them upon anyone. That's why I think other religions are fascinating and it gives a great message- especially Buddhism and other religions like the Unitarians and Episcopalians. I can go on here...but I'll stop for now. It's never a bad thing to learn something new or open your mind to what others feel is important to them.

Thanks for your response!

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking of a "caught in the act" (where was the man who was with her?)- she was thrown at the feet of Jesus in utter shame- and He was asked what should be done with her.
"He who is without sin can cast the first stone"...

What a gift of acceptance and understanding! What grace we see in the absolute certainty of His forgiveness- and it is HE who forgives.
We are called to LOVE.
With our words- and deeds- and in our thought life...

I will consider each gift I open this year as one that represents the acceptance and understanding of a Creator who loves me- and has not given up on me- I am so grateful~

A beautiful post---
Blessings to you and yours :)

Seven said...

Mayden V,
Thank you for the kind wishes and blessings. I wish the same for you and those you love.

OnMyWatch said...

This is the one of the most balanced and thoughtful posts I've read in a while. You have a beautiful outlook on things.

--Just stopped by to wish you a Merry Christmas.

Seven said...

Many fine wishes for you and all those that hold you close.

Enemy of the Republic said...

Amen, my brother. Jesus came to save the poor, the unhealthy, the forgotten. I served the homeless in Friday in the pouring rain, and thought about Jesus being born in a manger. He suffered from day one. Today we prayed for our soldiers, for our inmates, for our homeless that they will be both cared for and in some cases, brought back from sin. I worry not only about the death and physical injuries of our vets, but also the mental turmoil--that was the main purpose of my earlier post. May Jesus heal them of PTSD as well! The greatest gift is Jesus, who suffered for us so that we would be clean. Pardon my preaching, but if we could be more like him and less like ourselves, the blessings would overflow. I believe this. Will it happen? Probably not. But perfect love casts out all fear. God bless you and all your loyal blogger mates this season. Thank you for your friendship.

Seven said...

Love ya. I wish I could also say I served my fellow man and woman as charitably, but it would be a lie. In some respects we can compare the pouring rain to the adversity of life and the hungry to the ones Jesus always cared about. This is a wonderful example of how it can always be when need is present. I wish you the Season's peace.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas my friend and goodlife.

Seven said...

Robert, Always a great joy to have your inspiration here. I wish you a Merry Christmas too!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for all of your posts and your friendship. Happy and Peaceful holidays.

Seven said...

Its been a great year and I also appreciate your friendship and meaningful posts. Have a great Holiday!

Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

Hope you had a wonderful holiday, Seven...:)

(I, for one, am glad it's over for another year...I get sick of all the commercialism...bah!!!)


Seven said...

I hear you. Only 363 more days till Christmas.