Let’s not talk about Jesus at all. Let’s talk about ourselves. Who are we? What is humanity and what are we evolving to be? Who do we carry around inside of us? How do we connect to the Divine, to Yahweh, to the Source of all things, to Shekinah, to the Best, to the Creator, to the Redeemer, to the Healer, to the poor and neglected?
Yes, let’s talk about Christmas.
Christmas has become an archetype. That is its power. It means many things to many people, some of them just plain offensive. Among the latter would be the glut of materialism and consumerism that characterizes the season in a consumer-dominated culture; or the sentimentalism that wallows in nostalgia and the syrupy past etc. etc.
But what are the deepest meanings of this archetype called Christmas?
Christmas is non-triumphal. That is to say, it is not about the victory of any empire, any god, any tribe, any human enterprise–It is not history written by the conquerors.
Quite the opposite, it is “history” or at least story, about the non-conquerors, the non-successful, the non empire-builders. A story about a couple pregnant and poor with no home or hotel establishment to take them in for the time of the child’s arrival. A story not so far fetched given today’s world of poverty and exclusion and immigrant migrations happening at the southern borders of Europe and of the United States for example.
Christmas is a story about the poor triumphing over life’s tough challenges. Like bringing a child into the world. Bringing a child into a corner of the world that is not hospitable to the event because the parents don’t have the means. Or because racism reigns.
Christmas is a story about bringing a child into the world in the midst of the four-legged ones, the animals, the hay, the manger where animals feed. Laying a child in a manger, not in a pristine bassinet; in a manger, not in a sterilized hospital ward. Christmas is a story about survival.
But it is more than that. The archetype of Christmas also speaks to just what a child is. Who is a human child?
Not the son of a king, the son of a president, the daughter of a rock star–not the identity of a well known or well placed child, but the “Every child,” including the poorest of the children born to the poorest of parents in the poorest of circumstances in a stable or a barn or a ghetto or a peasant village.
What about that child? What is his or her worth?
Queries for Contemplation
In this essay are several understandings of the meaning of Christmas. Which speak to you the deepest? What are your meanings of Christmas or what do these meanings trigger in your understanding of Christmas?