The theme of the gospel is light.
The light that enlightens everyone was coming into the world. And the light is LIFE.
It is not that the source of light and LIFE were ever absent. The source of all LIFE and light was always here – just hidden from our sight.
The light that enlightens everything and everyone in the world needed revealing by a special person so that the previously hidden presence and nature of God could be seen and experienced and better understood.
The essential message of Christmas is that if you have a mind to go looking for God, you don’t have to go anywhere special to find him. You don’t need to look for God in Rome, or Jerusalem or a Tibetan mountaintop because he was here all the time – in you, in me, in the ups and downs and joys and sorrows of everyday life.
To look for and find God you do actually need to take a kind of journey, but it is an inner journey. It is a relatively short journey. You have to journey from your head down to your heart, down to the depths of who you really are beneath the masks that we all wear.
It is a short journey but a profound one. What you will find there is the real you and God who was within you all the time.
But what prompts someone to even attempt such a journey? Well everyone has their own belief system. Even atheism is a belief system.
What prompted me to start looking in my mid thirties was this. I examined my life and thought about everything that was important to me. The love I felt for my wife and daughter, my parents and my brother and sister, the beauty of the natural world, my friends, my love of music and art.
I saw that there were two ways of interpreting all the things that were important to me. The atheistic materialist way and a different way that held a place for the divine.
I discovered that everything that I thought was important and meant everything to me, in the atheistic materialist scheme of things – actually meant absolutely nothing. I learnt that love didn’t really exist. That all the people I thought I loved it was really all just chemicals and electrical impulses. I felt these things only because it aided my personal survival. Beauty is just a human construct, music just waves, nothing has any real intrinsic value – just what we make up ourselves. There is no such thing as right and wrong. They are just names we attach to things to suit our own selfish purposes. My love is truly empty. I found that truly depressing. The atheistic model didn’t satisfy me.
So I then put everything I valued and held dear and held it up to the light of a belief in God and my world and my life was transformed.
My love for my family is then not just chemical reactions built in to ensure my personal survival – it actually has value – eternal value. It has an objective reality.
There were things that were objectively right and things that are wrong. Beauty and music and words and symbols were transformed from meaningless human constructions into things that were real and had true substance. They were transformed from being nothing to having true meaning.
Far from my life being purposeless. With God I had purpose. My and your purpose is to be a co-creator with God. To live, love and flourish and create to our full potential. And that this is good.
A belief in God transforms the universe around you. No longer meaningless and two dimensional, and we humans are not just an amoral collection of animated meat clinging to a purposeless dying planet in a dying universe – to being a wonderful awe filled creation where love and relationships are real and have eternal importance.
People are free to believe whatever they like of course but my intuition led me to faith in God as being the far more convincing and satisfying explanation of my life. What about yours?
Once you have crossed that bridge and decided that faith or trust in God is the most satisfying option, that is the motor you require to then search him out.
And as I started by saying - You don’t have to travel far to find him. He is here is your life right now if you would but realise it.
That God is here, a part of us, within the world, not apart from it, is symbolised by the birth of a baby in Palestine 2000 years ago – a symbol of love, relationship, new life, meaning and hope.