As we approach Christmas, thought and words about Jesus will arise. At least they ought to. After all, that is the reason we celebrate this memorable holiday. Of course, it's easy to lose the purpose for Christmas since, over the years, the focus seems to be more and more on consumerism and getting caught up in the frenzy of it all. There is nothing inherently wrong with that; there is much joy in buying and sharing gifts. Yet, as we step back for a moment, we might ask, "Who was this Jesus, and what does he represent?"
Jesus posed this question about himself to his disciples. It takes place in a story found in the Gospel of Matthew. It was just after the disciples witnessed the remarkable experience in which Jesus “allegedly” fed over 5,000 people from only five loaves of bread and two fish (there are several metaphysical lessons in that story, but we'll save that for another time). Anyway, back to the question Jesus posed to his disciples. He asked, "Who do people say I am?" The disciples shared that some believed that Jesus was the reincarnation of different prophets.
Finally, Jesus asked the disciples, "Well, who do you guys say I am?" Simon Peter replied, "You're 'The Christ,’ son of the Living God." And Jesus, in essence, told Peter, "You got it. Flesh and blood did not reveal this to you (his intellect). Spirit did. It is on this spiritual consciousness we will build this movement." Though I took the liberty to update the language of the story a little bit, the essence of the message is that Jesus' true identity is that of "The Christ" or God's presence.
So here's the deal. The celebration of Christmas does not merely deal with God's presence through a person sometime in the past. Instead, we are dealing with a divine identity that is within all of us. This identity is part of every person's soul. It is spiritual energy with no bounds, no borders, and is readily available to flow through and as our life. When we make this divine energy the basis of our identity, we access the power, presence, and the love of God itself. From that space, like feeding the over 5,000 from the five loaves and two fish, we get to tell our seeming miraculous stories.
Alex Idrache has such a story. Alex grew up in an impoverished section in the country of Haiti. He tells of when he was young, soldiers from the United States came to his neighborhood to help the people who had just gone through a major earthquake. Alex shared that the soldiers’ presence enabled him to feel hope for the first time in his life.
Alex asked his dad who those people were, and his dad told him they were American soldiers. In response, Alex said to his dad that one day he would be an American soldier. At the time, that looked like an impossible dream. Alex's family was in a hopeless living situation, and despite several valiant efforts to get a visa to come to the United States, they were unsuccessful. However, after several years, the family was granted visas and ended up in Baltimore, Maryland. Alex never forgot his dream to join the Army. He enrolled in a national guard program that enabled him to join the Army and eventually he became a U.S. citizen.
But that was not the end of the story. Through a series of serendipitous events, the highly selective West Point Academy offered Alex one of the few spots for enlisted soldiers. Although Alex lacked the benefit of high-quality education, he graduated with honors and was a top student in physics. On the day of his graduation, Alex is shown in a picture on social media in full West Point Cadet gear with tears streaming down his face. Emotion overcame him as he stood at attention during the commencement exercise.
Alex's story demonstrated the power of what's possible when you claim your spiritual identity and the divine energy of the Christ presence. When we proclaim and say we too are the Christ, we can be a re-occurring revelation of what's the best and what's possible in the human experience. As all of us express our Christ identity, Divine Energy activates us. We become points of upliftment, not only for ourselves, but also for all humanity.
So, next time you are asked, “Who do you say you are?”, I invite you to respond, “I am the Christ, child of the Living God.”
Peace and Blessings,