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.