A Metaphysical Christmas
Was someone with the name of Jesus, or Jeshua Ben Joseph, born somewhere in what today is Israel, somewhere in the range of 4 to 6 BC? Undoubtedly. There is too much evidence to say that Jesus was a myth. A Roman Senator, Caius/Gaius (or Publius) Cornelius Tacitus, wrote in about 116 CE, and cites the existence of “Christians”. And, there seems to be agreement that the writings of Josephus, a Jewish priest who grew up as an aristocrat in first-century Palestine, gave plausible reference to the existence of Him as well. His existence isn’t the point of confusion to many, but the “who” and “what” He was and is, most certainly is.
Unity, and most all of what might be called New Thought schools and gatherings, hold to the understanding that He is not the great exception, but the great example of what each individualized expression of God (man and woman) truly is. It is also generally accepted that He entered into this life in the time-honored way with Joseph serving as father and a young Mary as His mother. Matthew 4:17 speaks of His fulfilling the law, not breaking it.
The reasons behind how the thought of the virgin birth is so much a part of today’s written Biblical theology are many, but historians again seem to agree that this along with reinforcing verses didn’t appear until perhaps the second or third century. Then remember the first written Gospel, Mark, wasn’t compiled until perhaps 60 to 65 years after the crucifixion, and then only from second- or third-hand witnesses—stories handed down. Yet, thankful are we for having what we have.
Then there is the word “Christ”, which is a title, not Jesus’s last name. It is from the Greek Christos, or the anointed one. It is therefore inaccurate to say things like, “when Christ was born” or, “when Christ died.” The title can’t be born nor can it die. It is like today’s Ph.D., indicating a level of something. In Jesus’s instance, Christ is in reference to His insight into the energy we call God.
Within New Thought is then to be found the understanding that “Christ” is also an ever-unfolding recognition within each who are consciously unfolding their own Idea of Oneness. It isn’t a word that is spoken, but many find a sense of peace as they listen to their inner voice that says, “You, also, are the beloved son or daughter of God.”
Today’s Christmas within Unity and other New Thought churches is a thankful remembrance of Jesus’s life that validates our ever-growing understanding of the truths He so beautifully, powerfully and lovingly exemplified—only to then find the principle behind these truths and apply them throughout our lives today. So, our Christmas isn’t just to look back to a birth as recorded in Matthew and Luke, and its disputed accuracy, but to also look within us and find our inner manger of openness and receptivity—and therein re-discover our very own re-birth of an ever deepening awareness called Christ.
Along with his wife, Rev Mary Ellen, Larry Swartz is a minister of Unity Church of Tucson, (3617 N. Camino Blanco). For more information, call 520-577-3300 or visit UnityTucson.com. See ad, page 14.