Ebenezer Scrooge was visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past in “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. I received a lesser visitation of the Ghost of Christmas Past during this Christmas season.
Visitation of the ghost of Christmas past
The New Message from God has a teaching called “The Meaning of Christmas.” I have written blog posts about this teaching in January of 2014 and December of 2014. While I am happy with what I have written in those posts, something has changed between December of 2014 and now. What has changed? The New Message from God has released the teaching “Jesus and the New Message from God,” received in April of 2013. I consider this teaching to elaborate on ideas introduced in “The Meaning of Christmas,” which was received in December of 1994. I have found it helpful to read these two teaching side-by-side.
I have happy memories of thinking of Christmas as not just an earthly event, but a cosmic event. I have happy memories of performing Handel’s Messiah, and not just singing with my voice, but with my heart crying out each word. I have happy memories of being part of the choir backing up John Michael Talbot in a performance of Light Eternal. I have happy memories of the worship of Jesus in word and song. This is my visitation of the Ghost of Christmas Past this Christmas season.
But the teaching “Jesus and the New Message from God” is telling me that maybe I need to think all this out again. Consider the following paragraph.
“From what little is known of Jesus’s life, it was clear that he was overtaken by a Greater Power. But regarding his birth, that is a complete fabrication. Regarding most of his miracles, that is a fabrication. That is the story that has been created apart from the life.”
Some people believe Jesus never existed. We certainly don’t go there. Some who could not receive Jesus for whatever reason claimed Jesus was illegitimate. We certainly don’t go there. But we reject the virgin birth narrative as a story that has been created apart from the life. It is as if the story creators observed the numerous virgin birth legends that were in that region at that time, and thought “we need one too!” It is as if there was a case of “virgin birth envy.”
I realize that there will be people who read these words and consider them as an affront, a denigration of their faith. It is as if this teaching has reached into my past and undermined it, just as Scrooge “extinguished” the Ghost of Christmas Past when his memories became too painful. My 20-year-old self reads these words and pities my present self for my unbelief. This is my visitation of the Ghost of Christmas Past. This is what I tell my 20-year-old self:
“It is difficult for people to have their ideas so challenged. They have invested so much in them. To have to reconsider these things requires real courage and integrity. Who amongst you has this courage and integrity?”
My 20-year-old self rockets his hand into the air and exclaims “I do!” My present self isn’t so sure. I would very much like to have this courage and integrity. And yet, and yet…
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