The Christmas season in the Catholic and Protestant portions of the Christian community has come and gone. However, the Christmas season in the Orthodox church is yet to come, with Christmas being celebrated on January 7. The Orthodox church is the third largest group of Christians in the world. There are between 300 and 400 million Orthodox Christians scattered over many countries. I therefore prefer to think that January 1 is in the middle of the global Christmas season, halfway between December 25 and January 7.
In late November of 2013, I wrote a post on the New Message teaching “Joy and Gratitude.” This is another post of that kind, unpacking “The Meaning of Christmas.” Again, it is too long to quote, but there are some important things to mention.
In the first four sentences, the phrase “the emergence of Knowledge in the individual” is used three times. Christmas represents the emergence of Knowledge in the individual. The life of Jesus represents the emergence of Knowledge within the individual.
If I would imitate Christ
If I would imitate Christ, then Knowledge must emerge within me, as Knowledge emerged in him.
If I would imitate Christ, then I must address the needs of my time, just as Jesus addressed the needs of his time.
The crowds were amazed at the teaching of Jesus, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law (Matthew 7:28-29, New International Version). If I would imitate Christ, then I must find and demonstrate that same authority he demonstrated.
Angels ministered to Jesus during moments of great decision in his life. They ministered to him after his temptation in the wilderness. An angel strengthened him during his time of prayer in the garden of Gethsemane. If I would imitate Christ, then I must be aware of the existence and activity of the Unseen Ones in the world, just as Jesus was.
Jesus declared he was sent into the world. Jesus declared he had people to meet, like Zacchaeus the tax collector. Jesus declared he had actions to take. If I would imitate Christ, then I must consider the possibility I was sent into the world as well, I have people to meet, I have actions to take.
I can embrace Jesus as a friend, a companion, an elder brother. I can idealize Jesus, place him on a pedestal above and beyond every person. I cannot do both. If I would imitate Christ, then I must choose between these alternatives, and choose well.
I have read this message multiple times, and different portions shine more luminously to me on different occasions. There is quite a bit more that could be said about this message, but this is all I have to say about it for now.
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