Friday, December 22, 2006

What Is the Christ in Christmas?

With just a few short days until Christmas, even if you don't identify as a "Christian", it seems appropriate to examine the meaning of the word "Christ".

Many Christians falsely believe that Christ was Jesus's last name. No, sorry. Jesus's name was probably Ieshua bar Iosef.

Instead of a surname, "Christ" is a title. It comes from the Greek and means anointed or slathered with oil. Believe it or not, we get words like cream, grease, and gristle from the same word origin. However, like all things biblical, it's literal meaning is not as important as the metaphysical and symbolic meaning.

For example, if I told you that Julius Caesar wore purple robes - that wouldn't mean much in itself. However, if you knew that, traditionally, emperors in Rome were the only one's allowed to wear purple, you might understand some of the symbolism and deeper political meaning behind this type of dress.

So Jesus wasn't just being described as "Joshua the greasy." In ancient Israel, anointing with oil was reserved for the holy, the priests and ritual objects. And there is a deeper meaning of equating Jesus with the prophesied messiah.

This is a bit of sensitive subject for some, but it's important to understand what is meant by messiah. The messiah was meant to be a military AND spiritual leader who would reclaim Israel from the Romans. In that sense of the word, it doesn't really fit well with Jesus - although some scriptures paint Jesus as trying to start a military revolt.

The metaphysical sense of Christ is anointed, not just with oil - but with consciousness. Think of enlightenment and one as synonyms for Christ. New Thought movements refer to Jesus as "Jesus the Christ". They refer to the movement towards Unity with god as Christ-consciousness.

Although his lessons have been perverted to reinforce un-enlightened power-bases, Jesus taught that we are all "Christ". He said, quoting Psalms, "I said ye are gods." he also said, "the kingdom of heaven is within you." And furthermore in john he said, "he that believes in me, the works that I do shall he do also: And greater things than these shall he do."

But the problem with ego is that it tells us we are limited, that we are not one with god but separate. We need someone to intercede with god on our behalf. We need priests and a savior because we are filthy and imperfect. Hogwash.

The kingdom is within us. This is truly something to celebrate over the Holidays. Let's celebrate our Unity with Christ-consciousness. let's celebrate the birth of one of the enlightened masters who showed us that we are all immortal gods.