Christmas was yesterday and the comparison between this year and many years gone by was quite unique. Nostalgia has always played a part in this celebration. I remember the hushed expectation in the large gothic church of my early childhood filled with pine ropes, huge wreathes, the smells of candles, warm pine and polished wooden pews. I can still feel the starched collars of the choir robes with the huge bows that denoted what grade we were in.
My Father was the minister of music in that church and my Mother was in charge of the childrens choirs. Each year’s services were filled with amazing vocal and instrumental music – just filling the church with the awe inspiring richness of well-trained voices played against the enormous pipe organ and a small orchestra brought in for this momentous occasions.
The church was filled with hundreds of well-dressed people and I loved the smells of perfume and the softness of all the fur coats worn by the women who loved to hug me.
As a child, I loved the services, but most of all, I loved to go to the rehearsals. This was where I could quietly drift up and down between the rows of pews and up in the balcony unnoticed – or at least I felt unnoticed. The grownups and older singers would rehearse in the evenings and my parents would be so involved in their jobs, that they had no time to wonder what I was up to. That was the way I preferred it. I loved wandering through the polished, quiet halls with no sound but my shoes and the singing voices echoing through out the huge building.
I always felt close to God then. I didn’t need someone to tell me whether or not He existed. I had experienced that spiritual awakening at a very young age and knew God’s presence in my own life. I didn’t know it was different for anyone else and so the heated arguments that I heard from others as I grew up and now, as an adult, that there was even a question about the existence of God, I always thought was rather silly.
I believe that God has a legal responsibility to make His presence known to anyone who asks sincerely AND we have a legal right to know who our Father is in such a way that there is no question as to God’s existence. I’ve known a few people who tried that and discovered the experience and peace that came with it so that for the first time, they were finally satisfied that not only was there God, but that He loved them uniquely.
It seems that writing about spiritual matters that include God or Christ is no longer a “politically correct” activity. There are many who abuse their foundational beliefs and who claim that their religious status is correct and anyone who believes anything other than “their version of the truth” is wrong and could very well be placed in eternal suffering.
I believe that some take their connection to God as a sign of their superiority – and their need for significance. It is easy to see how divisions between the “I’m part of the spiritual-speak crowd and you’re NOT” can easily further divide people from each other. It seems that using one’s spiritual power as a way to judge people and force them to believe any particular religious doctrine out of fear of eternal repercussions is very sad and really misses the point, in my opinion.
Back to Christmas present. This year, Jesus seemed to be even further removed from the airwaves and focus than ever before. Although Christmas was originally thrown in with the pagan winter solstice celebration, over the centuries, it became more of a focal point and the pagan celebrations took more of a back seat to the Christian rituals.
If one follows the Jewish calendar – and that was the calendar being used at the time, Jesus was actually born in the spring – around the equivalent of April – not the middle of winter, as most people have come to believe. Now, however, it seems that the trend is reversing so that Santa, the Grinch, and Charley Brown have won hearts more than the Christ Child.
My Christmas now is very quiet. I live in a different state with my husband and both parents have passed on. My children are grown and do not have children of their own. I am grateful for all the kinds of Christmases I’ve had over the years and I realize that Christmas is a time to reflect and remember why Christ was sent to earth by his Father in the first place (the Father and Christ are not the same being, as many state – really). He was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel as an approach present. Yet, the rest of the world is to experience Him as a mediator between God and us.
God has a lot to answer to for the state of the world, don’t you think? However, if Christ could forgive His Father for the price Christ had to pay to be sent here; that of being killed by his own people, then can we also forgive God for the painful experiences of our lives? That’s what Paul wrote about when he said in II Corinthians 5:19-20 “For Christ’s sake, be conciliated to God.” This means that WE are the injured party, not God. He is the operator of the All and the ones who are dying are US. Therefore, to develop a close relationship with God, if it is wanted, we cannot do that until we forgive Him.
I know that may sound radical and topsy-turvey, but think about it for a moment. God knows what He’s doing and is not up somewhere wringing his hands because evil has the world out of control. This is not a battle between good and evil. Good has already won, (in the grand scheme of things – even though the evidence is not here now) and no matter what plans the minds of men may come up with to fulfill their own greedy plans, they can not ultimately prevail.
There is a bible translation, “The Concordant New Testament,” that is an excellent addition for both the serious student or the dedicated truth seeker. It can be found at Amazon or other bookstores.
Let me know what your thoughts are. Be specific in your comments. I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!