What is Christmas? - some thoughts
At this time of the year, everyone is talking about Christmas.
We all know it is a time of feasting and gift giving, and for some, here in the Southern Hemisphere, a time of holidays.
But what really is Christmas all about?
In many places you will see Nativity scenes, trees decorated with fake snow and baubles and endless Santa Claus figures.
All this in an area that is probably enduring a heatwave with water restrictions!
When asked, most people struggle to explain simply what Christmas really means.
Let me offer some suggestions for your thinking.
Here in the Western world we celebrate the birth of the man called Jesus who later became known as Jesus, the Christ. The Christ is a title, like ‘the Professor’ or ‘the Surgeon’. It means ‘the Way-shower’ - one who acts as a guide, shows the way.
Way back in 6 BC, the world was entering the new Zodiac sign of Pisces – a 2000+ year cycle of influence which was quite different to the previous time of Aries.
The main influences in Aries were the ruler, the planet Mars – a strong warlike influence, creating conflict and aggression. Its opposite sign, Libra sign of the scales, gives us the influence of Law, fairness and rules – hence the Ten Commandments, were given to Moses, the way shower for Aries.
Most of the Western legal systems are based on these ‘commandments’.
At the beginning of a new Age, a ‘way-shower’ comes to interpret the new energies and guide humanity forward.
Thus, at the beginning of Pisces, a new ‘way-shower’ was expected to be born to fulfil this role.
There was much speculation as to who it would be, from which aristocratic family and from where they would come.
The Eastern Astrologers were consulted, as was the custom, and their advice was taken seriously. All the people were looking forward to finding the ‘one’ who would be chosen to lead them all forward. The stories of Wise men from the East, Kings from the Orient refer to these astrologers.
Imagine the consternation when the indications were that the child would be born to a newly wed carpenter and his wife from out of town! Not only that, to a poor couple without any social standing, who, it seems belonged to an obscure Nazarite sect, a group similar to the Essenes, who believed in reincarnation, and lived a very simple life, close to nature.
These unlikely beginnings fuelled much controversy and speculation amongst the priests and rulers of the time. They had expected that the ‘coming one’ would be from a well-born family of social standing and influence.
Because the birth of Jesus did not match their expectations, there was a plan to remove the child, hence the need for Jesus and his family to leave Palestine and live in Egypt for a time, until things quietened down. The years spent in exile were to be the beginning of the education of Jesus, as a yogi, which was to extend to India, Tibet and many other areas of the known world.
So……….. if we follow the Biblical account, or the simple, popular accounts, there is much that will not make sense in the Christmas story. Put it into context and we begin to see why what seems a simple story, has had so much influence for so long!
We do not know Jesus’ birth-date - it is more likely to have actually been in March, not December. December in Jordan is too deep in snow for the shepherds to have been out in the fields, or for the Roman Governors to have called a Census at that time. Besides, it would have been in the midst of the Roman Saturnalia festivities when all the Roman officials would have been wanting their holidays!
It seems the early church fathers fixed the date of 25th December as Jesus’ birthday sometime in the early second century to coincide with the Roman Saturnalia festival, thinking they could more easily convert the masses if they renamed and re-appropriated an already existing time of celebration.
Saturnalia was from ancient times the seven days around the Winter Solstice, put aside for ceremonies which called on the Sun to return to grow the crops again. Slaves were freed for a few days and made bonfires, pageants and plays, feasting, Yule-logs, Pantomimes and gift giving.
It is from this we derive our current Christmas celebrations.
Not very modern and certainly based on Pagan rituals and astrology!
So, again, what is Christmas?
Christmas = ‘Christ’s coming’ - the birth of the one who would later, after many years of training, become the Christ, the way-shower for the new Age of Pisces.
His teachings, his message for the new age of Pisces was LOVE. A reinterpretation and an upgrading of the Aries attempt to be fair.
He offered a new commandment – the eleventh commandment –
“That you love one another as I have loved you”
That is why Christmas is so special, why it is celebrated in so many places, in so many ways, and for so long.
It was heralding a fresh start, a new beginning for humanity, one which was sorely needed, just as it is today.
We may have forgotten the exact origins, become a little confused as to the customs and context, but the message remains the same as ever.
We are celebrating the anchoring of the vibration of the ability to LOVE in the atmosphere of Earth, and it is this which has echoed down through the ages and brought hope and change to countless millions.
That’s why we love Christmas!