Thursday, December 23, 2010
Who is this Christ we speak of?
With Christmas so much upon us, we have to ask: what is this Christ we talk about so much…or the Christ Spirit? Is it the baby Jesus - or is “Christ” not necessarily Jesus’ last name? Could it be simply a description of him as “the anointed one,” the original meaning of the Greek word, as translated from the Hebrew word for Messiah? It seems to have a different definition for everyone today, and did in Jesus’ day as well.
Yet this meaning is key to understanding the great gift of Jesus’ birth. In the context of the time in which he lived, Jesus brought love and hope to a world under the heavy hand of Roman oppression. His was a Jewish restoration movement, focused on the causes of the day. If you want some interesting reading, look at the definition of “Christ” and “Jesus” in Wikipedia, which contains a fuller discussion of the terms and historical viewpoints.
Obviously, though, Jesus’ birth and message has much broader implications than the historical ones! When Peter is asked who he thinks Jesus is, he says "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."Mat 16:16 Although later traditional Christian documents say Jesus was the only son of God, Jesus himself says that we are all children of God. Wow! “Christ” is a word so focused on Jesus that anything else is hard to wrap our minds around, but there it is, reportedly in Jesus’ own words.
It sounds to me like the Christ Spirit, then, is not particular to Jesus, but to everyone, and existed before and after his blessed life. The celebration of his birth is an annual celebration of our own birth, or rebirth, the new understanding of our very nature as the Christ Spirit, one with God and with each other. And if we are not separate from each other, if we all have the Christ Spirit within us, then we should love and treasure others as we treasure ourselves.
Is this the true meaning of Christmas? Of the Christ Spirit? Of us?