'Tis (Still) the Season...yes indeed. It must be. Proof of that is the continued presence of our crooked Christmas tree, a tree that grows crookeder and crookeder each day it remains here in the same (warm) room as the pellet stove. It is is still standing in front of the sliding glass door that leads to the patio. That in itself could be deemed a Christmas miracle...that it is somehow defying gravity by remaining upright. I've nicknamed the tree FUBAR.
So the holiday season seems to be a good time to take a look at Jesus...you know..."the reason for the season." Several things have found their way into my inbox/web browser that have given me pause as I ponder Jesus. Who he was. What he did. Etc. etc. etc. So in this post and the next couple of posts, I am going to take a closer look at that question.
In a recent email to annie I wrote the following about pondering the virgin birth:
I am not ready to give it up...and I still get all choked up when the angels announce in the Christmas story...fear not for I bring you tidings of great joy...that shall be for all people....for unto you is born this day in the city of David, a savior who is Christ the Lord. I'm not ready to give that up.
To which annie replied:
like you, i'm not willing to give up the virgin birth - although, it doesn't really make a particle bit of difference to me. whether 'miraculously' conceived or not, Jesus remains a Unique Son, the only manifestation of what it means to be fully human and fully divine, not merely in Essence, but also in experience. to say that he is our brother, that we are equally divine, will never diminish his role as the Firstborn, the One who blazed the trail, pierced the veil for the rest of us. he will always have 'the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus the Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father'. it would be a spirit of jealousy that would need to bring Jesus down or elevate ourselves, deny his uniquely individual role in human history that no one else could ever fulfill. it's hard to explain how i view 'let this Mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus'... he didn't think his divinity something to be grasped or lorded over anyone - yet he never shied away from saying, "I and My Father are One". there was no false humility there - no self-aggrandizement, yet no self-abasement either.
annie said that, for her, it really does not make any difference whether Jesus was miraculously conceived or not. Somehow, it does make a difference to me...a big difference. I am unwilling to give up the belief that Jesus was somehow God in the flesh... Emmanuel....in a way that I am not.
Jesus has been likened by many to other "god men" myths in other cultures. A quick trip to google and I come up with the following list of names....
*Attis of Phrygia
*Horus/Osiris of Egypt
*Krishna of India
*Mithra of Persia
There was a recent thread on beliefnet's Christian to Christan Message Board that discussed this topic in depth. Actually, that is where I got the link to the section on Religious Tolerance entitled Were events in Jesus' life copied from other saviors/god-men/heroes?....
More on this...tomorrow.....