As a child many years ago, I had the following conversation with myself, trying to make sense of the teachings of my church and all the other religions I saw around me. The recent letters to the editor about religion brought back this little vignette.
"If I were God," I thought, "how would I, as a Spirit, invisible, unseen, almighty, communicate with my children whom I had created to live in the material world?" It was clear to me that we humans weren't "getting it" for wars, poverty, injustice and hatred abounded.
I pondered this with all the intensity of a child's mind, and finally decided that if I were God, I would put my Spirit into a human form that would embody and radiate my divine love and demonstrate how being one with God/Love would look in the "real" world.
This human being could be seen, heard and touched while my in-dwelling Spirit could be felt and would resonate with the soul I had placed in all my children. The soul/spirit connection would signal My Presence. "Wow," I thought, "God's done just that -- He sent Jesus!"
Quaint and simplistic though it was, my childhood revelation still serves me well as a litmus test for Truth. Jesus is "the way" because he manifested in this material world the essence of God, which is love. The God within each of us, whether we are in touch with it or not, recognizes that which is born of Love. Jesus chided the Pharisees of old because they did not love. They were so caught up in the forms of religion, the rituals, the prayers, the dogmas, and in being "right," that they looked upon others with judgment and not love.
Christians can claim to be special only when we truly follow Christ's example and embody, however imperfectly, the love that is God. All the arguing about religion, locally and nationally, demonstrates that we still get caught in the "forms" of religion and lose the essence, failing to see that the True Spirit can shine in the hearts of humans everywhere no matter what religious label they may wear.
May the celebration of Christmas, in the midst of the world's turmoil and hatred, inspire us to remember Christ's teaching to love one another, and through that Love to build a better world.
M. Decker Abbas, Payson