As we close in upon another Christmas season, I often get asked my thoughts of Christmas. Over the years I have been befuddled, trying to find balance between meaning and spirit. In end, I found a version I believe most, including Atheists, could use: I believe Jesus was one who put aside personal benefit to help others and had compassion, kindness and love for all beings. Jesus demonstrated immense compassion, love, kindness, and beauty. He also incorporated that very compassion into the lives others.
One of my favorite holiday movies has been A Christmas Carol. For Dickens, Christmas was about getting unchained from materialism and appreciating all relationships. Christmas is about the ability to give and to take pleasure in giving. Imagine being able to understand one another feelings and experience them (in some degree) as if they were our own. This is the basis of the remarkable cooperative tendencies we all have and it might be the primary reason God hoped we live for.
In December 2011, I lived in Alabama. Being single, I spent time at the Waterfront Rescue Mission. The Waterfront Rescue Mission was one of countless sanctuaries that resounded with prayer and song on Christmas. Staff and volunteers—welcoming the homeless, and serving them — had been inspired in different ways. One regular volunteer noted, “Here at the mission, we see the face of Christ.”
Those who arrived, had personal reflections:
- One man, who bunked “off the railroad tracks,” said the day was special as Jesus’ birthday.
- Another, living in a tent in the woods found personal meaning in the song “Joy to the World.”
- Another mentioned being homeless for five years eloquently stated, “The day is about Christ, and all he represents.”
Nearly twelve years have passed and I barely remember these visionaries. Regardless, their message remains alive today as it were in the days of yesteryear: “Christmas should be every day. You should show love all the time.”
Every religion has its own myths and paradigms. But the value of Christmas does not hinge on external fact, but rather personal truth and spirit. Christmas celebrates a momentous evolutionary leap capable of compassionate living. The secret meaning of Christmas is this:
“Like Jesus, you and I can experience a rebirth that improves humanity!”
May you become enlightened during this holiday season and may the love in your heart be abundant and overflowing. May you see the face of Christ in everyone.