A modern thinker Eckhart Tolle, followed by millions invited his students to look at the whole of human history as if it was the history of a single individual. Then they discussed what they saw on the graph. After a sober evaluation they agreed that it looked like the life story of a severely disturbed, insane person! Unprovoked attacks by one group of people on another, murder and genocide on a mass scale, religious intolerance leading to the slaughter of thousands, planned pain, torture and enslavement inflicted by humans on other humans! Worst of all were wars, conflicts and massacres that were begun with the intention of creating a better world, a better life and a purer religion or race.
It is clear that there is a serious crisis within humanity. One part of us believes in peace, love, forgiveness, mercy and live and let live. Another part of us is convinced that violence, force, pain, brutality and the use of fear is the only way to achieve one’s own needs, desires and goals. When we come under threat, become insecure or our desire to possess or gratify ourselves becomes overwhelming, we unconsciously slip into the latter methods. That is why we need to have laws, rules, regulations, police, army, courts and jails constantly overshadowing us.
At Christmas we have the answer to this problem that the God of Christianity presents to the world. A God believed to be omnipotent or capable of anything He wishes or desires chooses a unique method to engage humanity and its internal problems. God becomes a man in Jesus Christ, small, weak and vulnerable in the hands of His creation. He chooses to love, heal, forgive, care and serve as opposed to controlling, dominating, taking revenge and subjugating others by the threat of force and violence. But what did He get in return from those who were well established and threatened by his actions? A plot and a clever ploy that led to a painful crucifixion and death. That should have been that and life should have gone on as it always had. But it did not.
How he was born, how he lived, what he lived for and how he died began to make an indelible impression in the hearts of millions. People who looked at him sensed that there was indeed another way, a better way to deal with life and the problems of life. That violence and force can be overcome and made obsolete by a small, vulnerable baby held in the arms of a poor mother. While violence and force capture the external human, the baby Jesus was able to capture the heart of the world and change civilization itself.
No one said it better than Napoleon Bonaparte at the end of his life after the empire he built by war and violence crumbled before his very eyes, when he asked, “Who is this man, who continues to conquer the hearts of humankind and inspire them to live and die for him so many years after he lived?”
May Christmas enkindle in us the hope that there is indeed an answer beyond violence and force and that gentleness, love and mercy will prevail in the history of humanity.