What Today Brings
“So, what should it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul…” – Jesus Christ
Christ is from the Greek, Khristos, Hebrew for Masiah, or Messiah. 1038 marked the addition to make Cristemasse and later Cristes-messe. All of this on the way to becoming Christmas or Christ’s mass, a day for us to celebrate the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. We are not taught in school that this was not the only virgin birth in religious or cultural lore. Two thousand years before Jesus, the virgin Queen of Egypt gave birth to the Pharaoh Amenkept, equally adored by Gods and men. The babe was coincidentally greeted by three kings who bore gifts and the driving symbol depicting the Pharaoh is a cross. The Grecian God, Dionysus was born of virgin Persephone and the God Zeus. This made Dionysus half human, half God, just as Jesus is represented in Christianity.
My mother never likes for me to speak about this and she blames my ex-husband, a big fan of Edith Hamilton’s Mythology and the work of Joseph Campbell, for filling my head with these inconvenient truths. Mamma preached peace, love and understanding with no strict religious dogma, but doesn’t want any shade thrown on her beliefs about God and most importantly, his son Jesus. My point in pointing this out is to acknowledge that we were not the first in the human race to need a Savior who is half-man, half-God, one who is bigger than us and more connected to that beam of light from whence we came.
I grew up in St. John’s Episcopal church in the late sixties and early seventies. My grandmother and aunt sang in the choir, my brother was an alter boy, and I went upstairs to Sunday school every week. I hold dear those precious and innocent times, but as of late, messages from most pulpits seem outdated. I attended Hopewell Church in Paris a few days ago and while it was a joyous service, I was taken aback by the promise that Jesus will return. Faith is a slippery business. We all have opinions about what happened between 6 and 4 B.C. I believe Jesus was a prophet, an enlightened man who knew from the depths of his soul the way to go and that way is through love, charity and compassion. That is enough for me to follow him and anyone else who may come along with such a pure heart, the current Pope comes mighty close. I pray to God, although I don’t know exactly who or what I am praying to, but I believe I am praying to that which knows all and loves all and wants us to learn and grow and return to heaven better for our earthly experience.
Christmas for me is a time to appreciate those with whom I am blessed to share this time on earth. It means showering them with gifts and calls to say, “I love you.” It continues to surprise me how good it feels to give. As time flies by and years fly by, it is important to stop periodically and recognize that we are all in this together and we made it through another tough year. With the image of Christ forefront in our minds, we espouse a higher calling and dismiss the petty grievances, disappointments and selfish ambitions that perhaps filled our days during spring, summer and fall. Rising to the occasion, we buy a bag or two of groceries for the less fortunate to put under the tree at the grocery store, we put a few extra dollars in the box for the Salvation Army and Woodford Humane Society. Each and every act of kindness aligns us with actions we know Christ would take, and this most assuredly guarantees a very Merry Christmas.