I really enjoy celebrating the birth of the luminous being we know as Jesus of Nazareth during this, the darkest time of the year.
I don’t mind that we don’t know exactly everything about his life and times or when exactly he was born. I don’t care that the stories have been misunderstood or misinterpreted. I just love that the world tries kindness and love and forgiveness for a while; that the vibration of the planet rises.
I don’t mind what the tradition is or when it developed or where it came from. I like it all: the pagan candles, the gnostic meditations, the Christian carols, the American movies, the Australian kangaroos who pull Santa’s sleigh; the German trees covered in snow; the nativity scenes in the desert.
I love it all, because it all reminds me of the birth of this extraordinary being. When I am reminded, it inspires me to work towards being more like him.
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these…
- Jesus (John 14:12)
When a divine being has human tantrums..
I have fun thinking about Jesus as a small boy, and what a handful (to say the least) he would have been for his parents. The stories are in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas.
When he was five years old, Jesus would make sparrows out of clay and breathe life into them. I like to imagine being his mother - “Jesus! Are you scaring your playmates? It’s the Sabbath. What will the neighbors think?”
Then there’s the time Jesus cursed another kid for shoving him and the boy fell down dead. The neighbors came around and told Jesus’s father, Joseph, that he had better teach his kid to bless people and not to curse people or they’re going to run him out of town.
So, Joseph wrings Jesus’s ear and tells him to stop all this nonsense. Jesus promptly makes the other parents blind and tells Joseph to stop annoying him.
Then this guy, Zacchaeus, offers to teach Jesus his letters and to respect his elders, but he just about goes crazy because Jesus starts telling him all this profound stuff. He says, “I strove to get me a disciple and I am found to have a master.” He begs Joseph to take him away.
Everyone is consoling Zaccheus and Jesus laughs at them and reverses all the curses he made and tells everyone not to provoke him anymore or he’ll maim them.
Yup, a handful alright.
Things got a bit better when the grownups stopped trying to tell him what to do… He healed a man who had cut his foot with an axe. And when he turned eight, he helped his dad in the wheat field. He took one corn of wheat and made a hundred measures from it and fed the village.
But then, someone else tried to teach him his letters (Hebrew and Greek) but Jesus asked the same question he had asked of his last teacher, “If thou be indeed a teacher and if thou knowest letters well, tell me the power of the Alpha and then will I tell thee the power of the Beta.” So the teacher smacked him on the head and - whaddyaknow - Jesus cursed him dead.
So Joseph told his mother, Mary. to just keep him indoors to stop him from killing people who made him angry.
But a third brave teacher came along and Jesus was happy to go with hm. This time, Jesus was allowed to grab a book and preach! A crowd gathered around him and as they listened, they finally realized that he was the wise and gracious one among them. He brought the other teacher back to life and went home with his dad.
From then on, he did good things, like healing his brother when a snake bit him, and bringing a child back to life for its mother.
When he was twelve, the family went to Jerusalem and Jesus ended up with a crowd of grown men around him in the Temple, teaching them. “And all men paid heed to him and marvelled how that being a young child he put to silence the elders and teachers of the people, expounding the heads of the law and the parables of the prophets.”
And they asked Mary, “Art thou the mother of this child? and she said: I am. And they said unto her: Blessed art thou among women because God hath blessed the fruit of thy womb.”