One of my work colleagues has a saying he often uses: “I look, but what do I see?” It came to mind recently when I wanted to buy a card featuring the Nativity scene for a friend who I knew thought of Christmas that way. I was looking, but all I could see were Christ-less Christmas cards featuring everything from snowflakes, reindeer and santas, to presents, stars, Christmas trees, decorations and words like ‘season’s greetings’, but not a Christ child in sight.
The very essence of Christmas – Christ – is absent from the mass of Christmas products drenching stores and media for the past few months. It is ironic and masterful at the same time that we can so publicly, commercially and socially share in, promote and support an event that is void of the essence of its very name and the origins of this globally popular word.
To put it into perspective, it would be like the Olympics without sports, soccer without a ball, motor racing without cars, fashion without clothes, music without sound, royalty without the royals.
Even though we all acknowledge the obvious commercial presence of Christmas, there is little focus or question on what’s not present, like Christ.
This isn’t a rant about the Christ-less Christmas being a bad or evil thing or about our lack of piety, but the Christ-less Christmas is, perhaps, the most blatant example of the meaninglessness of words today, the hollow emptiness of our language and the growing façade of words, whose substance has been rotted away like houses eaten through with termites, appearing solid but crumbling into nothingness at the touch. The word Christmas describes a foundational part of our lives, yet that foundation today has no relation, or connection, to the actual celebrating-the-birth-of-Christ-into-the-world meaning of the word.
The real problem with Christmas is not that it is Christ-less but that it is meaning-less; that is, the actual meaning of the word Christmas and what it has come to mean, in reality, are no longer the same thing. Putting Christ back into Christmas is about using words and language in the fullness of their true meaning so that we may mean what we say and say what we mean, deeply, fully, clearly and truly.
Observing the activity around Christmas reveals that the majority of us are definitely religious about decorating, gifting, feasting, holidaying and rounding it all off with sale shopping, devoid of honouring the birth of a being, whose short life and simple wisdom has echoed down the centuries, offering a way of living that has inspired many. We don’t have to be Christian to appreciate the Christ.
Christmas is a super-powerful word and once we get past the white noise and discern its meaning, as The Way of The Livingness invites us to always do for ourselves, it offers a genuine and true way to live. The word Christ actually refers to our connection with each other as One Family, not by blood, but by Brotherhood – we are all each other’s family, regardless of physical or legal ties, in essence beyond physical bounds. How different would this annual festival be if the word Christ was known and reflected in our celebrations of how we live, connecting deeply with each other as One Family and as the Brothers we equally are?
Without such truth in our words, we can say one thing but mean and live another, as so many of us can testify to with our current experiences of Christmas. How much living wisdom have we lost in the cracks between meaning and reality in the words we use in our lives? What gets lost and buried is us when our words and our lives don’t match, when our words are not embodied in the way we live.
Being definite in our language invites us to return integrity to our speech and our lives, having words actually match their meaning equally and universally, without distortion or versions, so they may be known singularly by any ear that hears them or eye that reads them. Moreover, the more we live with such integrity, the more we will insist that our words reflect this lived quality whereby Christmas is a lived celebration of the Christ, the Brotherhood we know, not in theory, but in the everyday way of our livingness.
By Adrienne Hutchins, BEd, Brisbane, Australia
Related Tags: Serge Benhayon