* Find my original Facebook post here
** Photo taken from the interweb
So it is Christmas time, the ultimate celebration of consumer generosity in memory of Jesus Christ’s miraculous birth celebrated on December 25th 0000 (Jesus was a capricorn). (Some celebrate Jesus’s birth on January 7th as they count days via the Julian calendar, but that would still make him a Capricorn. At least, on this point, astrologers may agree.) <- joke btw
As with all traditions, contrary to the suggestion of what tradition means, Christmas has evolved and changed a lot across centuries. At the very core, it was a simple story which in due time, harbored very complex developments. There was a pregnant woman Mary and her spouse Joseph, modest people navigating the streets of Bethlehem (Gospel of Luke, Gospel of Matthew) looking for shelter so that Mary may give birth to Jesus as a fulfillment of the Old Testament’s Messianic prophecy. Jesus Christ was thus born, lord and savior, a voice for sin absolution and compassion. We don’t know much about him as a child or teenager, but I like to imagine that he may have given his mom a hard time when he came home tracking muddy water on the floor of their house from all the water walking: “Jesus Christ! How many times must I remind you to take off your sandals. Jeeeeze.”
To me, the reason why we don’t have many details about Jesus Christ the human is because the aims of Jesus Christ as a concept were ultimately spiritual, not physical. This is why all stories of religion are so vague and really not detailed… ‘Faith’ was never meant to WRITE events via history, it was meant to spiritualize via consciousness. Only stories and their physical events write history, but religion in its spiritual identity could never write history, it’s physically impossible just like “happiness” or “gladness” cannot write history. They are states of mind, not events… and faith was supposed to only be a state of mind, not a State. The biggest oxymorons of today’s language to me are phrases like “Religious right”, “Holy war”, “Islamic history”, “Islamic state”, “Christian science”, “Christian choir”, “Jewish temple” or “Hip Hop culture” (hmm). Once you physicalize spirituality, you strip it from all spirituality, rendering it just another human system like Capitalism or Socialism, systems built on events and ideas, not states of mind. And that is what religion has become: a human system. The fact that there are physical buildings, books, jewelry, pictures, people and monetary traditions associated with religion makes it by default an antithesis to spirituality… for the door to spirituality cannot be through a temple, it is through the mind.
And so spirituality got diluted. Over the centuries, people started attaching their religions more and more to the material, to specific details that eventually became popular tradition. Those include things like religious marriage, Christian baptism, Communion, Adha sheep slaughters, Jewish Shabbath, Jesus’s crèche, Christmas tree, and my favorite: a fat old guy with high cholesterol in a red suit who rewards good kids for being good while he repetitively calls out hoes.
I guess you may understand that I personally am not a fan of most popular traditions because they classically entrench us in our differences. Traditions are typically specific to a group of people and that tends to be a differentiating custom and divisive from others. Personally, the only traditions I appreciate are the ones that unite us all regardless of faith and social standing; there are two that come to mind: the official consolation (عزاء) held by the family after a loved one dies (death morbidly humbles and unites everybody even if for a couple of days) and, to a lesser extent, modern-day Christmas.
Yes it’s true, all faiths are welcome to engage in the commercial Christmas spirit thanks to consumerism and capitalism. Capitalism will take your money no matter what your religion is and so everybody is welcome to shop. But to put it more spiritually, I love Christmas because it is the strongest optimistic social event of the year. I love Christmas for its real spiritual message…. which originally was about “insignificant people” achieving big things: A modest shepherd and his pregnant wife with no place to stay who end up giving the world a savior.
Movies are filled with superheroes today doing superhuman things, power is equated with money and dominance. But Christmas, probably the most powerful story of all human stories, is not a story of super humans, nor of dominance, it is a story of super modest humans who tapped into the superpower of God. To me, it is a reminder that humanity is fallible except with the help of God. And God to me is love.
If you re-read the story of nativity, there is no money, no power, no competition, no ego, no struggle, just human modesty and the superpower of love. The story shows us, without details and for a reason, that when joined together, human love becomes superpower. And to me that is what the concept of Christ was trying to tell us. When you join yourself to ‘God’, you tap into the only superpower: a superpower that is not human, a superpower that religion calls God, that Christians today call Christ, and that translates into love.
Christ thus is love. But so is the modest human being, for Christ was originally but a modest human being.
So when I wish you merry Christmas, it is in spiritual remembrance of our modesty and our potential superpower. A superpower that doesn’t need an institution to be validated, but that only needs our modest consciousness.
Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones dear friends, may love unwaveringly find its way through our hearts and become our state of mind today and always.