How should I celebrate Christmas?
I would like to talk about Christmas. This is the most important holiday in the western world. That is a confusing thing for some people, perhaps for many. Christmas is supposed to be a celebration of the birth of Jesus. However, Jesus was a Pisces and was born in March of 4 BC. Yes, that’s right. He was born four years ”Before Christ”. The Christian religion, however, chose December to celebrate Jesus’s birth. We want to state very clearly that Jesus had nothing whatsoever to do with the establishment of Christianity. We’ll discuss more about that, later. The reason the holiday is observed in December is that as Christianity was developing and spreading in Europe, one of the most significant existing festivals had to do with the return of the light. This was more important in ancient agrarian times than it is today. Now you can always go to the store or open the refrigerator to find food. In those days there was only what had been saved from the previous harvest, along with any successes from hunting. It would be a long time until things began to grow again in the spring. In December the light was scarce, it was cold, and there was often concern about how long the food would last. The midwinter solstice was the longest night of the year. From then on, the light began to return. This brought about optimism and a revelry. There was fear about the dark and this festival expressed the hope that there would eventually be warmth, then growth and more food. Christianity co-opted this celebration, but chose to keep many of the old elements intact. That is why there are Christmas trees, elfish beings, lights, feasts, and more. That is why we have this holiday.
Let us take a look at Jesus. Certainly, the word Christmas contains” Christ”. Whether or not you consider yourself to be a Christian, and whether or not you believe in Jesus’s existence or divinity, you are well aware that Jesus is the reason for the holiday. As I have said, Jesus did not begin Christianity, and he would not have done so. The religion is not representative of his teachings. There is a small amount of Jesus that can be found there. If you read through the New Testament and look at the words that are attributed to him, perhaps twenty percent of them are in the ballpark of something he might have said. There are an equal number of things that are absolutely opposed to anything Jesus taught. Absolutely opposed. How do you know which is which? If you read those words – in some Bibles the words attributed to Jesus are in red, like someone has highlighted the juicy parts for you – take a deep breath after each statement and ask yourself if this fills you with feelings of unconditional love and lifts you up. Or, does it cause you to feel guilt or fear? If it does the latter, it is probably not an accurate representation of Jesus’s real words. When in doubt, throw it out.
I will tell you what I know about Jesus, both from being his disciple in my lifetime as Thomas and also from what I learned after he was no longer directly in my life (lives). I did write down many of the things that I heard him say. These writings have been referred to as The Gospel of Thomas, which was found in the 1940’s along with other ancient scrolls in the Egyptian desert. But, that version is not mine. That transcript had gone through several re-writings. Perhaps half of what is there was close to what I had written. Again, use your own guidance if you read this text. Coming back to Jesus – there are some things to say about him that are absolutely true, and that he said himself. He taught over and over that the way to find heaven was through unconditional love. It was not about doing ”right” things over ”wrong” things. It was not about judging or being judged. It was about being in a state of love. He also said that he was a child of God, created by God. He said that we were just the same as him, that we are no different. He was to us as an older brother, with more experience and wisdom, who was further along the path. Jesus saw the divinity in each person, whether or not the person was capable of recognizing that divinity. He did not teach that there were rules to be followed. He didn’t speak of the Ten Commandments. He did not make any statements about what people should do. He did not speak about roles that women should take in society, as opposed to men. He did not differentiate between people based on their religion, sexual orientation, state of servitude, or race. His primary tenets were unconditional love, forgiveness, and the honoring of personal divinity.
That is what can be celebrated at Christmas. It is not about the birth of a savior. Jesus would be the first to tell you that birth was not his beginning. He had always been and always would be, as you have always been and will always be. To make Jesus special, to make Jesus different, would go against the heart of his teaching. He said ”this and more you shall do”, that is, that whatever he did, we are capable of doing…and more! Make Jesus divine in your thoughts, but not at the cost of denying divinity to yourself. The observance of his birth is the celebration of his divine eternal spirit, which is also the honoring of your divine eternal spirit. It is at this time in the darkness of the year, in the coldness and the unfruitfulness of the season, that it can be helpful to reaffirm your divinity, to hold that light in the dark.
There is no need in your spiritual process to pay any attention to Christmas, whatsoever. It’s not necessary. Neither God nor Jesus will frown on you for not honoring the birthday. God does not operate in that way. He honors and celebrates whatever you choose to do and loves you without conditions, as does Jesus. It is for you with your inner guidance, to decide what to do with this day, if anything. But if you are thinking about Christmas, you can use the moment to align yourself with your brother, Jesus, remembering that he holds you always as his equal. His coming was not as a sacrifice, but was as an expression of love. Not only did he not die for your sins, he didn’t recognize your sins. Only you hold on to the energy of that. This can be a wonderful time to light a candle and to see the purity and the brilliance of the light that is you. Or find it in the fire you may be sitting before for warmth. For those of you who find yourself in the southern hemisphere, this celebration might feel more appropriate for you in June, in the dark of your year. However, the memorialization can happen at any time, in any month, or not at all. Follow your own heart. You can celebrate your eternal flame at any time.
God Blesses You,