Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mark Andrew's Christmas Thoughts 2011

My Christmas post this year may be a little rushed as I am getting picked up in an hour to go home, but I'll give it a whirl.

As I've said in previous years, the meaning of Christmas for me has changed a lot in the last 10 years since my theological beliefs changed quite drastically.  In previous years I may have been kind of provocative in my comments, trying to "fight back" against the literal interpretation of the Christian Christmas story, and indeed what the role of Jesus is/was concerning the atonement and salvation, etc.  But as Bing Crosby and David Bowie sing Little Drummer Boy as I write today, I don't have a desire to be abrasive or provocative. This may seem strange concerning my most recent 2 blog posts (available in the list on the right if you scroll down on the right). In these posts I present challenging views of the literal interpretations of the Christmas story as found in the Christian Scriptures. I posted these because I just find it fascinating at the existence of other possibilities, other interpretations, and the very real possibility that much of what we read in the Gospel accounts were largely symbolic or taken from ancient Pagan mythology.

So if, say, the Christian Christmas story found in the Gospels didn't literally happen (for instance, the Bible never says that the Magi - and we don't know how many of them there were - visited Jesus at his birth. It says that they visited "the child" at the "house" where he was living.)  then what can we take from the message of Jesus?   As someone who doesn't think about Jesus a whole lot, his words of "loving your neighbour" and not only that, but "loving your enemies," as well as taking care of the weak and the oppressed, those words still resonate with me and I carry them with me.

In my particular spiritual movement, called Unity, they talk a lot about "the Christ within," seeing Jesus as the Way-Shower, or the example of what all humankind can be. We ALL have that divine spark in our lives. Rather than being originally sinful, we are divine in nature and one with the Divine.  I connect with this to a large extent, because if I have that divine spark within me, and you have that divine spark within you, and the Muslim and the Jew has the divine spark within them, then we are ALL ONE. And if we can realize that we are all one, maybe we will learn to treat each other with love and respect rather than with violence and suspicion.

The false separations that we think divide us, such as those of religion, economic situation, geographical location, gender, sexual orientation - these are all mirages.  I believe that we, that I, need to do a better job of moving toward a place of oneness and understanding, and embracing those who I previously have thought as "different" from me.

On a personal note, as 2011 closes, I am personally being drawn, almost pulled, to a place of more quietness, more simplicity, more solitude. To connect with that Divinity within me. We often drown it out with music, entertainment, Blackberry's, Facebook, and e-mail.  I'm not saying that we should all become desert monks or nuns, but if we are constantly drowning out our inner spiritual voice with noise, we leave little room to connect with our spiritual core. And isn't that what a lot of us want? To connect with our soul, to have more peace within, to be able to actually stop and rest and have a peaceful mind sometimes?  This is my challenge as 2011 closes and 2012 begins.

Let us re-commit this Christmas to loving more - not just those who we find lovable or our friends or family, but those we find a real pain in the ass - and little by little, our world will begin to change.

However you celebrate the holidays this year, I wish you the best of the season, and much peace and love. You are an irreplaceable part of life and I am glad to know you.

Merry Christmas,

Mark Andrew Alward