As the holiday of Christmas draws ever closer, I am drawn thinking of what this day means to millions of people.
As I have recorded in a previous post, December 25th is not the day that Jesus Christ was actually born. At the risk of sounding repetitive, the Old Testament actually puts his birth sometime in September - moving the celebration to the 25th was an excellent way to help convert pagan tribes to Christianity, as they were already celebrating the death of the old god on the 21st.
Millions look to Christmas as a religious holiday, as a day to honor the birth of their messiah. Others look forward to decorating and presents and large meals and the gathering of families.
I wonder how Christ wanted Christmas to be remembered.
Now, as I have said before, I am not religious. I don't think of Christ as the son of an all powerful deity who lives in the clouds anymore than the rest of us. But I do see him as a philosopher who had the radical idea that we should all be nice to each other.
I think that he would like us to always love each other, despite race or creed or social standing or who we like to have sex with or what job we have or what car we drive. He was a very smart man. Love really is the most powerful emotion, the most powerful force we as humans have.
Take a king, or leader of men. Teach your people to fear you, you will never die in your bed. You will be shouted down in the public squares and decried in free republics around the world. Citizens will take to all media, social and otherwise, and call for you to be deposed in the most awful way.
Conversely, give your people every reason to love you, to be proud to have you lead them. You will be remembered long after your peaceful death in songs and statues and speeches and by future leaders trying to inspire the love that you did.
Get another person to love you - and that doesn't mean romantic love, this is the love one human can have for another in the most pure and brotherly way - and you will always have an ally.
There is a trick to this. The easiest and most direct way to inspire love in another is to fiercely and without any restraint love that person. You don't have to approve of everything your friend does. You don't have to blindly follow where that person leads. But find that element in them that you can love above all, and that's all you need.
I think that's what Christ meant.
. . .
I wonder if Jesus was a popular name after he died. You know, he was all famous, after he was crucified, was there a slew of children named Jesus Christ? Was there a feminine form of the name? Jesusette?
I bet they were a little embarassed when roll was called in school.
Six hands go up.
"Ok, here we go, Jesus Anderson?"