Okay, so Jesus probably was not born at the time of the Winter Solstice.
This week, I was explaining to someone that – despite what it may seem in casual conversation at times – I’m Roman Catholic. My friend jokingly said – how many religions do you belong to? And I said – honestly – just the one. To the extent I “belong” to anyone. To me, Catholic means “universal.” I can visit anywhere I want – as long as I come home when I’m done.
In the same conversation, I went on to explain how I am not Hindu, but I respect some aspects of the Hindu religion, especially its transcendent deist/monotheism as expressed in many faces of Goddess. I don’t believe in reincarnation, at bare minimum, for much the same reasons that the Buddha wanted to break the endless cycle of rebirth. We all know how utterly an unfiltered view of reincarnation can be classist and sexist and determinist. I’m not that patient. when it comes to grave injustice. The Buddha got this, you know?
To me, that POV is essentially synonymous with saying that every single person who has ever lived has a singular value that doesn’t just get transferred around with transmigration of souls.
And – I could say all of this over and over. I can visit anywhere, but at the end I’m coming home to the home I never really leave. I will never not be a bi-racial half-Asian girl who was born on Hawaii and grew up on the east coast of the United States in less than ideal circumstances. That’s where I begin. Where I go after that – who knows?
That’s not where God begins though. To me, God begins in the womb of a virgin, as an uncaused cause who is just there.
When he was born matters to him – and to his mom. It matters that he was born at a definite when, if you were there at the time. For us, what matters is that he was born. We can celebrate this anytime and anywhere in ways that will always be colored by our own context. It is always going to be important to recognize his separate context as important – because, and here’s where I come from, all contexts matter. All people matter.
Especially, though, Black Lives Matter. The lives of the least of these, those oppressed by this world – really, really matters. That’s why we don’t just stand back and nod quietly and Not Notice the Bad Stuff.
From a human perspective, because we are short-sighted, we may think either everyone matters or no one does is not at the same time synonymous with saying at least one person matters at least as much as everyone else combined. Eternity seems like “just” a very long time to us, which – among other things – it is.
God knows our hearts. God knows. Everything.
All around the world, believers image a Jesus – and Mary – and other major biblical figures and “saints” who look like them. We translate the good news: God came to earth as a human being, born of a human being and living the life of a human person to the point of death.
We can and will translate this truth into all our local languages and philosophical ways of viewing the world. This matters. It matters that we have done this, and it matters that we can do this.
Merry Christmas, universe. See you always.