Two millennia after his death, Jesus continues to have a profound impact on the world. Over two billion people in more than 160 countries will be celebrating Christmas this year.
What makes Jesus such a compelling figure? For me, it is neither the circumstances of his birth or of his death. Rather, the greatness of Jesus lies in his simple, direct message about the nature of humanity.
"The kingdom of heaven is within you." This is one of the greatest teachings in human history. Here, Jesus is affirming that the Divine is an indwelling presence in all of us. Whether we know it or not, the kingdom of heaven lives in our hearts in the present moment. Here and Now, Baby!
And this is not just true for ourselves. That which is infinite and eternal abides in everyone. That is why Jesus urges us to love each other as ourselves. What is sacred in us is also sacred in our friends, family, neighbors, colleagues, pets, and even our adversaries. The only thing that can make anyone our enemy is ignorance. Once we are able to embrace the basic truth that Jesus offered the world, we come to see the fundamental bond that underlies our apparent differences.
We can honor Jesus properly during this holiday season by giving the only gift that really matters: pure, unconditional love. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
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