Putting Soul Back In Our Holy-days
Last updated 12/7/2020 at 2:45pm
“It’s not what we possess but what possesses us.” I have carried these words I heard in a sermon back in the ‘70s in my mental pocket through the years. They especially ring true for me during the Christmas holy-days, when the commercial industry makes its biggest pitch to buy and consume. “Holy-days” have been turned into so many “shopping days till Christmas.” The capitalistic Dragon of Consumption has not only swallowed Christmas but every other holy-day on our calendars.
Christmas marks the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, who was born in poverty and who lived his life as a homeless, unemployed beggar, a burden for the GNP of ancient Israel.
Jesus lived a symbolic life that represented the quest for soul in what the poet, John Keats, calls this “vale of soul making.” Soul is not a thing; it is a relational concept. Soul making begins with the questions: “Who am I?” and “How am I to live in this world in relation to others”?
“Life,” Jesus said, “does not consist in the abundance of possessions” and “what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?” To those serious and courageous enough to live by his example Jesus said “sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor…and follow me.” Such a teaching would be an arrow in the heart of the Dragon of Consumption.
But we don’t need to give away all our possessions. What we need to give away is our illusion of possession and our identification with things. “If I give away all my possessions and have not love I gain nothing.”
Love is the soul’s choice when it comes to how we are to live in this world in relation to ourselves, each other and to God. If God is love, then love is God. Love is the true reason for the season. But, as one of my theology professors once said, “Christ shows us what happens to love in this world.” It suffers but in the end will always prevail over fear, hatred and darkness.
We can put soul back into our holy-days by reflecting on our lives and what it is we are living for.
Rev. Ernst Mills