Today, Christians around the world (minus the Orthodox churches) celebrate the feast of Christmas. It’s hard to find anyone worth their salt in any spiritual tradition who doesn’t respect, admire, or even venerate Jesus as a spiritual teacher. On the other hand, the religion that grew out of the movement started by his followers has a poor reputation in some circles.
Notwithstanding the aspects of the tradition that warrant criticism, there is also rigorous and resilient spiritual wisdom and insight that can take one a long way. The genius of Christmas is incarnation – the insight that Spirit and matter are inextricably linked. From this it follows that all creation – ALL creation – is sacred. The Incarnation also points to the central place for an ethic grounded in self-giving love (with boundaries).
Peel away the cultural accoutrements of Christmas and one is left with at least two principles that are not exclusively Christian, but are central to Christianity. As standards for human behaviour, including the behaviour of Christians, they offer a vision of a very different world from the one currently offered.
At least in the west, Christianity is a damaged brand in a damaged category; but some of the product line still holds value.
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