As I sit here in my local coffee shop staring out at the shoppers passing by with their heavy bags of ‘stuff’ for the celebration of Christmas, I really do wonder what the Nazarene would make of it all. Struggling shopkeepers trying to make a living in the midst of deep recession, try to tempt us into the commercial Yuletide spirit, with copious amounts of fake snow and semi glittering tinsel, all undoubtedly birthed in the great Chinese manufacturing drive for world domination.
Many dread the big day with its pseudo celebratory take on the birth of Yeshua, a working class Jew who, if many of us were totally honest, would have no place around our festive Christmas table. Family smiles often disguise deep hurts and wounds from years gone by. Presents are given to hide the hidden agendas of our rivaling relationships. Food and drink together conspire to drug us into the illusion that all is well with the world whilst the poor continue to be just that….poor. Cable TV transmits its fake take on the Season, as James Stewart, once more decides not to jump! B and C list personalities smile with broader smiles than usual, whipping up our manufactured feel good factor for the big day.
Yes, in the darkest days of Winter we humans love a good party, something to give our psyche a leg up in the sun starved days of cold December. Once upon a time it was Paganism, closely followed by Christianity who authenticated our annual knees up but now its Amazon and Apple who lend their commercial clout to our mythical merriment.
Am I a bit of a Scrooge or a sour faced, joyless Northern Irish Puritan? Well, no. I’m just a recovering religious junkie who yearns for authenticity and peace in the midst of our lemming like rush to the stores. May I be frank? Is there actually anything to celebrate under the orgasmic, multi-layered religio-commercialism that worships at the glitzy altar of trans- global Capitalism?
Thankfully, I believe so.
No matter where and when he was born, it appears that Yeshua, the Nazarene, really did emerge onto the world stage in first century Palestine. Forget the mythical donkey and the myrrh bearing magi. Such sweet icing on the metanarrative religious cake doesn’t actually matter. What matters is whether Yeshua really lived and what his teaching revealed about the mystery of Divine Source, the birth point of the Cosmos, and, more importantly, our purpose within it.
Many have tried to deconstruct the Nazarene from the pages of human history. They’ve almost managed it but good old Josephus, a first century Jewish historian, in the pay of the Romans, just won’t let them get away with it. No friend of the early Yeshua movement, the literary historian fleetingly refers to the ‘Christ’ in two separate references. No it would appear that Yeshua was a real fresh and blood guy, albeit one with a radical take on the nature of Divinity that set him against the status quo religion of his day.
So what is there to celebrate?
Simply put, two things!
1) Yeshua lived.
Think of a world without the Nazarene’s character, compassion and teaching. A much poorer place leaving the spirituality of man in the prophetic hands of the Buddha, Krishna, Lao Tze and other enlightened souls.
2) God is not obsessed with ‘sin’ or human dysfunction.
Yeshua’s view of a welcoming Divinity who doesn’t listen to the ‘sinners prayer’ before authenticating us is surely something worth celebrating. If this sounds too good to be true do have a wee reread of the parable of ‘The Prodigal’ – the returning son couldn’t get his rehearsed ‘repentance’ out before being smothered in Divine generosity and acceptance.
So, in this season of silliness and over indulgence, may I wish you all a blessed moment of Divine revelation. When we’ve had enough to eat, tire of our family and friends and are fed up with the saccharine TV fare let’s go into the solitude of our sacred space and wait for Divine Presence; an authentic Breath that longs to touch our saturated psyche in the bleak Mid-Winter.
Dylan’s Author page ~ https://www.amazon.com/author/dylanmorrison