Christmas is a time of profound meaning and depth… for those awake enough to see beyond all the distractions and pomp. Based on advertising and the commercial engine of our modern world, one would be tempted to conclude that “finding that perfect gift” is where the magic of meaning is captured. Really? Will deep meaning transpire with the in-laws based upon the perfectly scented bath soap? How many laps around a mall does it actually take to find something amidst all the floof, flizzle, and flam?
Does meaning magically appear from tradition? Is it found in the gullibility of the children for whom our tradition is a never ceasing series of lies? Is our religious tradition exempt from this examination? You should know me by now. Is it really meaningful to attend the most crowed service of the year which is designed primarily to capitalize on those who only come twice a year? What kind of meaning is actually exchanged for a donation? Seems like the depth of Christmas can be lost on tradition and religion.
If our Christmas story is a secular cover up job, then the deepest we can go is only as deep as the relationships we possess. One honest moment during the celebration will reveal we aren’t as close as we imagined. It may be nice, but is there depth? Is it contingent? As we mature, we are increasingly aware that something is always missing with this type of Christmas. Can a wrapped product really cover this existential gap? Is our holiday baking really that good? If our relationship were really that special, we wouldn’t place so much weight on this one day of the year, would we?
The true Christmas story has a profound amount of depth because its the end of religion. The wait is over. The appeasing process is over. There are no literal nor figurative pilgrimages to God. Unlike Santa, we don’t have to be good enough for God. God has come to all of us, not because we are good, but because God is. There isn’t a religion to which we must convert. We weren’t made savable, we weren’t given a ritual that saves us, we were given a savior who closes every gap between those who desperately need it as well as those who think they don’t.
The deep Christmas is neither a tradition, nor a dogma, nor a moral choice, nor a religion, nor a song, nor is it reserved for only a few, the elite, the smart ones who had all the right sense to pick the right team. Deep Christmas is the heart cry of “Olly, olly, oxen free!!” Deep Christmas doesn’t add to our financial debt, it liberates us from it forever. Deep Christmas doesn’t cause us to gain holiday weight, it frees us from our captive addictions unto good health. Deep Christmas doesn’t cause additional stress on relationships, its the love that heals us closer.
The deep Christmas cannot visit the proud, the sleeping, the distracted, the careless, nor the apathetic, for such of us only skim the surface of life. Deep Christmas is found each and every moment in each and every breath. It’s not a season, but a state of awareness. It’s not the love of presents, but the love of The Presence.
Deep Christmas is not a transaction, its inner and outer transformation. It’s the gift of freedom from believing we are what is wrong with us. It’s the gift of finding our true self, transparently grounded in a story of the Highest Power dwelling, co-existing, co-creating in the lowest bit of humanity. Deep Christmas is our human experience of loss, rejection, pain, politics and suffering…a story that ends in a new life. There is nothing to accept, no pressure to believe, just notice it happening everywhere to everyone. Deep Christmas is the moment the Christ is no longer Jesus’ last name and is visible beyond everything.
Pay attention because the most crumby life among us bears a near perfect resemblance to the suffering of God. The deep Christmas emerges moment by moment as we see our life written into the story, which now resembles a person more than a tale. For those with eyes to see it, our life story is a fresh retelling of the Christ story. If the deep Christmas works out for the lowly, forgotten, tortured, broken, rejected son of God, then we can have every confidence that it will work out for me and you.
Now, how much meaning is in that thing we just unwrapped compared to the life unwrapping within this awareness?
May we never again skim over the depth which IS our life.
Merry Christmas to you all. Peace on Earth, Good will toward men.