Today is Christmas Day and is dutifully celebrated the world over, before people go back once again to the lives they were leading before. Can we draw a meaningful lesson from this day on which Christianity’s founder the Lord Jesus Christ was born?
There is a common saying warning people, ‘not to judge a book by it’s cover’. Similarly, it is important not to judge any religion by what we see and know of it.
Christianity, like Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam has a long history and has stood the test of time. Yet we often judge these religions by what the followers of each religion have said and done and continue to say and do. These historical situations cloud the world so much that we lose sight of the founders and what they did and what they stood for. A beautiful story clearly illustrates this point.
Once in a place of meditation where people rigorously followed a disciplined way of life, a cat that wandered into the prayer hall was a constant distraction. The superior ordered a subordinate to tie the cat before each meditation started.
This became a practice and soon the members forgot the original reason for tying up the cat. The one who gave the original order passed away and so did those who carried it out. When the cat died, it was replaced by another one as everyone by that time thought that they needed to have a tied cat as an essential part of the ritual. This became a tradition and then a law that they had to follow.
Therefore, it is important for all religions to go back to the source and the founder. We need to discover in a fresh and new way it’s original message and purpose. The birth of the Lord Jesus Christ known as Christmas is truly a great opportunity to look upon one person who has had such an impact on human history that billions of people identify with His name.
When we look at the event of his birth, several factors become clear. He did not come from a rich family or a noble one. On the contrary he came from a poor and unimportant one.
He had no place to be born and was surrounded by animals and all the stench that goes with being born in a cattle shed. Wise men were drawn to him by a new star but the special invitees, as the Bible says, were the shepherds who were the representatives of the poor and the downtrodden.
Yet what makes the life of the Lord Jesus Christ unique and attractive to us through the millennia? He lived from an internal belief system that made him rise above the common attraction and temptations of human power, riches and the temptations of the flesh.
This made him attractive to many who were themselves searching for a freedom from the passions of the flesh and for a deeper meaning and purpose to their own lives. Simultaneously he became a threat to those who already held power, pleasure and control in their hands.
He was put to death for holding on to his inner beliefs and he became even more attractive to the seekers of deeper answers to life. Interestingly, in all founders of major religions, the founders have a similar history of an inner journey that has attracted millions.
It’s important to ask ourselves where we stand in the light of the life of the Lord Jesus Christ born today. Are we still bogged down in the swamp of human power, pleasure, privileged, high positions and other vices like lust even as we profess to be committed followers of one religion or another? Are we protectors and defenders of religion with the very weapons of power and lust that destroy it? Let us all return in humility to the roots and foundation of our own faiths and discover the light that can save us, our families and our Nation.