Anne Lewis from Lewis-Heaton Books, a magnificent source for books of true importance, mentioned an idea of true importance, “The Christmas tree…from now on will be decorated with pics of people past and present, that we love, objects that mean something special to each of us…and if no one gets it…pfffff, that is just the way it goes…after all, it is our family tree, and it will be filled with love and memories…” Her comment sparked thoughts of the bottom line importance of the Christmas holiday. Importance that is currently being forgotten and discarded.
I’m currently involved in a study of the history of Christianity about which I’m writing a book.. Should be done in ten years or so… But the importance of the man, Jesus has become stunningly apparent. There is no question, in spite of the arguments, that such a man existed. There is no question that the man was magnificently inspirational, even in his own time. The arguments from the time are not whether he had extraordinary powers, the argument was, where does the power come from.
It is certain that the Canonical references to Jesus are not actually historic observations of what actually occurred, but they are certainly, unquestionably important historical observations of the mentality of the times reflecting the “soul” of humanity. When blended with other accounts from the day, Jewish, pagan, and otherwise, one gains a very good reference to the importance of the man and his life which creeps into everything today. There are tremendous and thought provoking arguments pertaining to the truth and relevance of the stories, but the protocol taught by the man was, I think, addressed most appropriately by my hero, Benjamin Franklin, “I think his system of morals and his religion, as he left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see…” Franklin doubted the divinity of the man, but absolutely respected the wisdom, goodness and nobility of his philosophy concerning the proper behavior of man.
Thus, the celebration of his birth is perfectly appropriate as the celebration of the most important birth in history, whether you be Christian or not, leaving us with the question as to how the this birth should be celebrated and remembered.
The giving of gifts, celebration, singing, gathering together in social shows of appreciation, are absolutely historical and proper, even Biblical. What is slipping from our modern celebration of the event is thought and observation of the original philosophical roots. The idea Anne provides is perfectly appropriate to the core importance of the event. Including in the ornamentation, representations of actual objects and persons of worth. Indications and memories of the times, events and people of importance and worthy of our own commemoration. Reminders of the principles taught by the most historically significant person in history.
We are losing nobility. Humanity is losing its humanness. Jesus, whatever he may actually have been, indeed left us a tool which can be used to strengthen the important core of humanity. Christmas is far more than interesting, entertaining, fun, expensive… Christmas is expansive. Contemplate! Celebrate!