The reason for the season is you….and you rediscovering you!
Christmas is for everyone is not new news, but the idea that the Christmas message belongs to everyone might be for some people. No matter what religious tradition you feel most closely connected to or even if you do not ascribe to any religious tradition or if you blend traditions, the Christmas message is for you! Over the next three weeks, I am going to explore why you have reason to celebrate! Maybe you are thinking, “I already have reason to celebrate! We get together with family. We give gifts to our friends and family. We eat amazing food. We party and then party some more. We go see the lights on people’s homes and we warm ourselves with hot chocolate by the fire. Why do I need any other reason to celebrate at Christmas?” Good point and great question. I am hoping to make a deep impression on you that beyond these Wonderful Reasons lies the reason that Christians celebrate Christmas. Don’t tune me out just yet. The first week of this series, we explored how Jesus came to change our minds about God. This is not an exclusive message to Christians. It is a message that should lead us to Love and Inclusion. Today, let’s explore what Christians say about Jesus’ birth.
The Christmas season is about celebrating incarnation. Incarnation is a word used to describe flesh wrapping around spirit. Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas; God becoming flesh and dwelling among us. This is a beautiful thing to celebrate especially when we remember that Jesus was human. Richard Rohr in the Universal Christ writes, “Jesus is the archetypal human just like us who showed us what the Full Human might look like if we could fully live into it.” (23) Jesus came to show us what is true about all of us…all humanity bears the image of God, the Divine DNA, the light of the world. We express that image of God in different ways which reveals that God loves diversity!
But the incarnation of Jesus points us back to the first incarnation which is something that all people can celebrate at Christmas. Richard Rohr in his new book, The Universal Christ, writes that the first incarnation happened in Genesis 1 when God created all living things. If I can wrap my mind around this, then Jesus entered a God-soaked world. Before Jews, Muslims and Christians had their shared sacred text or their shared prophets, God created the natural world to reveal more of God’s self to the world. Rohr says that creation is our first Bible and he talks about his spiritual practice of falling in love with one thing in creation each day as a way to commune with God.
Mirabai Starr in Wild Mercy writes that incarnation is inherently feminine. The first chapter in Wild Mercy explores the story of Teresa of Avila who instead of going along with the male dominate way of emphasizing transcending the body to commune with the Divine, she wrote, “Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, it is the women who transmit the living heart of religion, lighting the candles, singing the prayers, cleaning up the afterbirth, and bathing the dead. ‘God,’ Teresa famously declared, ‘lives among the pots and pans.’” (22-23)
We see in Genesis 2, God getting dirty in making human beings. We see in the birth of Jesus, a young woman with a large belly, a womb full of hope and promise. Christmas is about celebrating the incarnation of creation, the incarnation of Jesus, and that each one of us incarnates the Universal Christ in communion with the Beloved Community. Incarnation puts us in communion with the Divine, the natural world and each other while maintaining our separateness. There is oneness and twoness.
Mirabai Starr puts it like this, “…if the feminine is all about incarnation and embodiment (which I am proclaiming in this book), then she rests squarely in the realm of form. And in form we have separation as well as unity. We have spruces, inner cities and dive bars, old white dudes and radical black feminists. We have teenagers in prison and moms who pine for them, grieving widows and philandering husbands, people for whom meditation practice compels them to offer themselves in service to those on the margins and other people who don’t give a shit. This world is filled with glorious, untidy multiplicity. Sometimes God feels very far away, and so we long for God. Not because we believe that God and self are ultimately existentially separate, but because here in the midst of our relative reality our souls yearn to return to where we come from: Absolute Love.” (Wild Mercy, 16)
Let the Christmas message sink deep into your belly like a warm bite of apple pie.
Go outside and fall in love with one thing every day.
Breathe in the smells in the kitchen, linger by the fire, take an extra minute to light a candle at dinner.
Feel Love in the center of your being and reach for a love that is beyond.
For this season belongs to you. You are the reason for the season.