The life of Jesus is more than a beautiful story. His life of selfless love and giving built a bridge back to God. It accomplished something amazing for all people, for all time, in all belief systems. It is not exclusively for Christians, but his life gives access to a knowing of God that is possible to all who truly seek to know God. He is Jacob’s ladder. He is the Christ power.
Jesus’ life built a bridge that connects us back to God. There are two stories that help to describe what he accomplished.
The first story is one of deliverance and it speaks pointedly to the condition of humanity. It comes from the Old Testament story of the children of Israel being delivered from slavery in Egypt. Moses was sent to lead the Israelites from captivity into freedom. It speaks of salvation as freedom from slavery. When one is in bondage, it is freedom that is needed
Indeed, when the idea of deliverance from bondage is the basis for the coming of Christ, we can see that His work includes deliverance from our ignorance and attachments to the world. We are easily overcome with materialism and quickly become slaves to acquiring and supporting the constant demands of our ego. If ever there were an important area where we needed help, it is freedom from our bondage to that which does not last.
A second story also comes from the Old Testament and occurs later in the history of the Hebrew people. This is the story of the captivity in Babylon. For 70 years they lived in exile from Jerusalem. The day of return was one of rejoicing and hope. When we view the work of Christ as one of helping us to return, we realize that we are in exile from our divine nature and the true inheritance that God longs to bestow upon us.
The work of Christ was to build a way of return to God, to bring us back into a close, intimate relationship with the Divine. Through the work of the Spirit, Christ can live within the heart and mind and transform the life. This is the path of return from our exile away from God.
The other great ministry of Jesus in the world was one of healing from sickness. There are many things we experience in life that cause sickness, not only physical sickness, but mental and emotional sickness as well. The work of Christ was and still is to bring healing to whatever we are afflicted with.
This is the real message of Christmas to me—that the Christ power is available in my life to bring me freedom from bondage to my ego and materialism, return and restoration from my exile from life without God, and healing for my soul, my emotions, my mind, and my body. The living Christ that lives within is the gift of the babe in a manger that continues to give me peace in my heart and goodwill towards my fellow travelers. May this same gift be yours this Christmas season.