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What does Christ's life mean...some thoughts on Christmas

I have a holiday catalog that has been sitting here by my computer for about a month or so. When I received it in the mail and paged through it I knew that I had to write something about it on this web page, and I have been searching for the right words. Before I share with you some of the contents of this catalog and my reactions to it, I want to ask you these questions:

"What does the word Christ mean to you?" , "What does Christmas mean to you?", "How do your beliefs contribute to your quality of life, your expectations of your life and your life experiences?"

Okay, with those questions in place, I would like to share with you what I found in that Holiday catalog:

The Christmas Nail Tradition: This is the Christmas Nail. It is to be hung on a sturdy branch, a branch near the trunk, a branch that will hold such a spike without being noticed by well-wishers dropping by to admire one's tinseled tree. The nail is known only to the home that hangs it. Understood only by the heart that knows its significance. It is hung with the thought that: The Christmas tree but foreshadows the Christ-tree which only He could decorate for us, ornamented with nails as this. - © TON Communications, Inc.

My immediate reaction when reading about this "Christmas Nail Tradition©" was of deep sadness. Each time I read the description and see the picture, I feel somewhat hopeless and frustrated. As a non-traditional spiritually eclectic person, I have a wide variety of beliefs and have had exposure to many religious traditions. This is the first I have ever heard of this particular "tradition". My other thoughts are those of anger because I do not believe that Christ's message to us as a people was to be sorrowful, guilt-ridden and hopeless. I believe his message was that of forgiveness, joy, self-empowerment and so many other actively positive things.

I believe that Jesus Christ's life was an example for us to follow - not the sorrowful ending, but the lessons along the way. This is what his life has taught me:

  • Follow your calling, your life's path. If it is a strong call, it may result in conflict with your earth-family, friends and community but your greater calling will always be to your creator. The satisfaction you feel out of acting on your calling will far exceed your discomfort from breaking off on your own.
  • When you do something that is new to others, you might be seen as a fool, but follow your heart and spirit. Many leaders experience loneliness but remember that you are truly never alone.
  • Heal those that seek healing but know that some people find healing through their experience with physical adversity. Suspend judgment, do not think less of those that choose the "hard way".
  • Knowing your true connection to your creator is wonderful, but does not mean that life will be "easy" or that your knowledge will alleviate all problems. In fact, knowledge always brings responsibility. Those with greater knowledge have a greater share of responsibility.
  • Everyone is a child of the creator, treat everyone with respect.
  • Working with like-minded people is a joy, but reaching out to those that believe differently than you is what it is all about.

I respect other people's beliefs about what the Jesus Christ's life means to them. I am offering up these thoughts so that I can share with you my belief that we do not need to tie ourselves to the sorrowful aspect of Jesus Christ. My experience is that when one focuses on the "negative", the negative seems to be there in full-force, ready to be seen and experienced. Those that are fully connected to reality but working through love and compassion will find that life is more joy-filled and hopeful. It is all in attitude. One doesn't want to run away from reality, but one doesn't want to be stuck in negativity, remorse and guilt either.

I would also like to challenge you with this thought: Did you know that Jesus was but one of the earth manifestations of "the Christ"? Let me explain...to those of you who have studied world religions you will know that just about every religious tradition has their own Christ figure. This does not take anything away from traditional Christian beliefs. Joseph Campbell remarked (and I am paraphrasing here) that he thought it sad that many young people did not know the origins or the rich traditions of their own beliefs and how they fit into the larger picture of world religions. He found that in learning other religious traditions and hearing of each Christ figure often enriches or makes stronger ones own religious beliefs. I have found that to be true in my life. What I want to go on to is the idea that all of these religious traditions are showing the pattern of a higher reality, that being, "Christ Consciousness".

Many of you have heard the thought "As above, so below" or "As below, so above" Most everything here on the physical plane has its connection to the larger scheme. I would encourage you to think bigger - beyond our earth. Perhaps you would be interested to know that each planet, star, etc. is a being whose origins where similar to what/who we are right now. In light of this greater view, what does Christ mean to you? I see The Christ as a member of a large hierarchy of beings who are here to serve humanity in it's present state, helping us along as we evolve. He is there for us to call upon, as is a vast and wide variety of beings such as Buddha, Kwan Yin, the angelic realm, earth spirits, etc. Their connection to us is their joy but our preoccupation with sorrow, guilt and remorse makes their "job" and our job harder. Let us learn from the past but not remain mired in its mess, let us look hopefully and joyfully into the future, while recognizing all the beauty that is around us in the present.

Now to bring things back down to earth a bit, perhaps we can look at the birth of Jesus in a general way. I like to think about his birth and reconnect with his human incarnation, linking it to all of the births that had come before and still are today. How miraculous is the birth of a child. I pray that each child will be looked upon as miracle, a christ (we are all a part of God).

I encourage you to seek out what your particular religious tradition believes. I would also encourage you to remain or become curious of other beliefs. I know that in doing so, you will find your concept of life expanding and your options with also expand. One last thought...don't be afraid to allow your view of God to grow and change as YOU grow and change.

May you experience Joy, Peace and Abundance during this holiday season.

In Love, Light and Healing...
Rev. Susan H. Aguirre

I would love to hear your thoughts about what I have written here. Please feel free to contact me.

These pages - content and images are © The Reflectory - Susan H. Aguirre & William-Thomas Wegner.