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? 

Santa arrives at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Image by Brandi Day from Pixabay

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?

“La Sagrada Familia” by Kelly Latimore, Iconographer. Reprinted by permission; see his gallery of powerful images here.

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.

A young couple with their 3 weeks old son, who was born in the Pakistan Navy Relief Camp. Mother Mahabi Sajjan, 28 yrs, father Sajjan Mallah, 28 yrs, son Allah Dino. Photo from Asian Development Bank, on Flickr.

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.

A mother and child at the Ursula detention center in McAllen, Texas. Photo by Jackie Speier on Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain.

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?

See Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, pp. 99-101; 136-140.

Banner image: A Serbian refugee family runs after crossing a border line. Posted to Flickr by Freedom House. Public Domain.

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?

Recommended Reading

In what may be considered the most comprehensive outline of the Christian paradigm shift of our Age, Matthew Fox eloquently foreshadows the manner in which the spirit of Christ resurrects in terms of the return to an earth-based mysticism, the expression of creativity, mystical sexuality, the respect due the young, the rebirth of effective forms of worship—all of these mirroring the ongoing blessings of Mother Earth and the recovery of Eros, the feminine aspect of the Divine.

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2 thoughts on “Christmas as Archetype, part 1”

  1. Avatar

    I resonate with this idea of Christmas as an archetype, especially being called to our radiance and beauty. What is the meaning of “doxa”?

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Bet,
      Thank you for writing. I, too, am grateful to have a deeper level of Christmas presented for meditation. Perhaps we can help break through to a different level of meaning in these unsettled times, then each of us could more closely approach “doxa” or glory.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

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