This certainly isn’t the first article to be written during the Christmas season, whereby the author attempts to realign the reader’s vision of the holiday with its true roots. I could talk (as many before me have) about love, family, sharing, togetherness, selflessness; I could talk about Jesus’ birth and all the Christian beliefs and traditions around it.
Or I could talk about why Christmas is the cornerstone for your identity. I could tell you why, when you truly understand and believe in the significance of that holy event, the inner demons that propel you to drink, abuse drugs, agree to abusive relationships and continually repeat these harmful behaviors suddenly have little power.
So that’s what I’m going to talk about.
Most people in this country, regardless of whether or not they wear the Christian badge, have at least heard of God, Jesus and the story of Christmas: Jesus was born to a virgin to save the world, and we celebrate that birth.
These facts are true, but they tend to be merely words that we hear, we sing in Christmas carols and – even if you were raised in the church, as I was – they may not mean that much to you, in terms of how it affects your daily life, how you deal with challenges and sorrows and the person whom you identify as you.
It may be that Jesus and Christmas have remained simply head knowledge as opposed to heart belief because you never received a really important piece of information. Information that, if you choose to believe it, can radically change your life.
Here it is: Long before the moment when Jesus entered this world as a baby, long before the earth took form, God imagined you. As in, you specifically. And decided to create the earth so that you would have a beautiful, perfect place to live and love and have joy and experience wonder and be in relationship with other people and with God.
This is a little twist that I know never registered with me: God made the earth for me, not the other way around. Here’s what you can take from that: you have value. Intrinsic, God-breathed, indestructible value. Just because you’re you. You can’t do enough “bad” things, or have enough bad things “happen to you” to void out that value.
Let that sink in for a moment. Because what I know for sure in my work as a therapist is that the root of all addiction and mental illness (in addition to biological predisposition) is the deep-seated belief that I am fundamentally flawed/something is wrong with me/I am cursed/all I do is hurt people just by being me.
But if you were to choose to believe that your value was determined long ago and is as true today as it was then, that could change things, couldn’t it?
So what does this have to do with Christmas? If we follow the Biblical storyline (which I obviously am), we know that things went awry in the Garden of Eden and now the world is in a state of decay instead of perfection. Enter Christmas.
In spite of the fact that God lovingly created this beautiful world for us and we, in our free will, opted out of the perfect plan, his unwavering belief in our value and overwhelming desire to be close to us led him to send his perfect son for us. This was a major step down for Jesus, as you might imagine. We’re talking Buckingham Palace to the slums of Calcutta-type culture shock.
But it was all worth it for God and Jesus because, in their estimation (and really, who are we to argue?) you are worth it. Plain and simple.
So Christmas is not simply the birth of Jesus, but the first humanly tangible demonstration of this incomprehensible love and affirmation of your value as a person. And not just in the one-of-millions-of-humans sense, but you, specifically, with all your quirks and experiences and gifts that make you special and unique.
If you were to begin to believe this even a little bit, your life just might be radically changed.
So I will leave you with that thought to consider, as well as wishes for a very Merry Christmas to every single one of you dear, wonderful souls. Many blessings to you and your families.
I offer individual and couples Christian counseling in North County San Diego. I also have a brand-new healing and empowerment program for women where the focus is understanding your true identity and learning how to use that new knowledge to transform your relationships, your career and your life into ones of purpose and joyful passion. This program can be completed virtually. Visit www.meredithwatkins.net to learn more.