In the first book of Luke we learn that John the Baptists birthday precedes that of Jesus by six months. Depending on how one calculates, due to various Hebrew traditions, the month in which John’s birthday was to have occurred, Jesus’ birthday may have been as early as September or possibly as late as the first week of January. What ever the date and/or ones religious convictions the foundations upon which lay the very essence of his (Jesus’) teachings are ones which compel mankind to a higher plane of thought and hopefully, action. To love and even more so, to draw man in to the making ever more perfect the outcome of his efforts. By doing so, do we not then also, by extension, become cause in perfecting the lives of others? I believe so.
For many years I’ve had the occasion to visit with biblical scholars engaging in many deep conversations relating to faith and scriptural interpretations relating to many faiths. Many forever refined my personal views and understanding of how to actually read the Bible as well as other spiritual and religious writings. One of the more memorable discussions related to a verse from the Bible, specifically the book of John (4:16) wherein one of Jesus’ comments are recited; “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Recalling this passage I am remind of a rather unique and refining resolution evolving from one of these conversations. Let me paraphrase the resolution in this way: “You know, these words (John 4:16) are largely misunderstood and misinterpreted as to mean that Jesus was, in effect, saying that unless you followed him (personally) that there was no hope, when left to his own devises, for man. In one particular discourse, ‘That is not so…’ was the response for if it were his intent to make this statement in so absolute a manner then it would bar all others, for all time, to eternal solitude and torment. No, what Jesus is teaching is the message of the ideal, that if (and when) man separates himself from the fundamental ideals implicit in his teachings then he separates himself from the ideal and assures personal peril. Never, in Jesus’ teachings does he challenge nor admonish those in such a way as to suggest that he, personally, was ‘the way’ – only the messenger. In other words, it is not Jesus’ way, but God’s instructions by design.”
I found, at first, the subtleties of this distinction a bit hard to grasp until a rather simple anecdote was offered: “We all begin the same journey each from many different points of origins. We travel the course on many different paths each with a unique set of challenges and obstacles to overcome. It is important to remember that each person must face the same processes common to all and each, in their own time and in their own manner, must resolve similar issues as they make their way – rest assured, none escape. What matters the tool one uses to navigate so long as each use a compass that is universal to all. I believe Jesus’ most lasting gift is the universal compass which resides at the very heart of all his teachings.”
In deed, there IS a reason for Christmas; if nothing else (or less) than to be reminded of the universal compass that binds one and all. Perhaps our hope might be that we each compel one another along the path “..to draw man in to the making ever more perfect the outcome of his efforts…” and “…by extension, become cause in perfecting the lives…” of one another.
For some, this notion may seem a bit naïve, for others it may resonate on a wholly different level. I’ll leave that outcome to the certainty that it will land somewhere. For me it lies in the belief and Reason that each life is intended to express the infinite potential of what, for all time, becomes the defining reference for the truly remarkable. Frankly, I rather prefer this outcome.
With these thoughts as a foundation for the following; let me offer to one and all a very Merry Christmas and Blessings in Abundance for the coming New Year!
Curtis C. Greco, Founder