So, once upon a time there was this really cool baby. His name was Jesus. His mom was Mary. She was a virgin.
Now here’s a bit of info that maybe you didn’t know (that I didn't know till someone told me), ‘in the original Hebrew text of the story of Mary and the birth of Jesus, “the word “ha-almah” was used, a word similar to the English “young” or “maid.”
The mistranslation occurred when this text was translated into Greek, where the word “parthenos” meaning virgin is used. The Hebrew word for virgin is “bethulah” and cannot be found anywhere in the original Hebrew text, meaning that the original writer did not intend for it to be read as “virgin” but as “young” girl.
This error in the translation to Greek text begs the question, was it really a mistake? Or was it purposeful?’*
And if it were intentional, was this purposefulness manifested/inspired by a higher source making sure we got this right? He is the dad, after all…
Back to our story--
Here we have Mary. With this friggin’ amazing baby, that Joseph, his just as amazing stepdad, taught how to be a carpenter. Jesus learned this trade really well. He was a really good carpenter. Like kick-ass.
Jesus was also a really good Jew.
And after building a ton of really cool things for a really long time, because he was really good at it, he went out into the world to teach the Old Testament, in its purest most beautiful form.
There was a lot of not so good stuff going on at the time. Romans killing a shit ton of people. The High Priests of the temple kind of aligning with them a bit…hey, better than being killed themselves, right. And probably a lot of people feeling a bit disillusioned.
And Jesus, amazing Jew that he was, he went around, all over Israel (notice how I put that in here, ya know, to point out that the Jews have lived on Israel soil for oh…like nearly 4000 years) teaching all these beautiful Jewish teachings that were kind of getting lost at the time.
Love and tolerance and forgiveness and compassion and understanding and acceptance and how to give unto others and live in alignment with God. Really cool stuff.
And Jesus was pretty friggin’ amazing at being a teacher. Like he was a teacher even better than he was a carpenter. And that says a lot!
The Romans didn’t like this. All this teaching love and having people following him. Because, ya know, when you’re in power, you kind of want the people following you.
So Jesus had to go.
Anyway, back to the beginning.
Jesus’ birthday. Here’s another little bit of interesting info, Jesus was born between April and September… so likely a summer baby—lucky for Mary, it can get pretty darn cold in that manger in the winter.
So, while this whole summer birth thing was going on, during the winters, specifically December, ancient pagan religions celebrated the solstice. And the Roman Catholic church usurped this pagan holiday to create Christmas. And for good measure, they also made Jesus’ birthday on this day. To help convert people. Kinda better than killing them.
So this Jesus’ birth in December day…well here it is. It’s December and we’re here on this special day, birthday celebration once again. And this year, it seems to be a really important year to make note of this.
Of Jesus being born. On the land that is Israel. As a Jewish baby. Jesus. Jewish. Israel. Same land. Same Jesus. Jewish baby. Really cool Jewish baby.
I think this is really clear, yes?
Dear Jesus, my wish, on your birthday, is that all people all over the world love all other people, no matter what their belief is grounded in. That all people love all people. Including Jews. Which is kind of like loving you. Which is kinda nice for you, that all people love you today, this being your birthday today and all. And kind of nice for Jews. Because you. Are one. Of us.
Yom Huledet Sameach Yeshua‘.ישו יום הולדת שמח. Happy Birthday Jesus.
Wishing you a beautiful day and yet another lovely rotation ‘round the sun. It is an honor to be part of your tribe. I have always been a huge, huge fan.
(*Komaberri Bat for translation reference above)
I came upon these two Calvin and Hobbes comic strips the other day. The one about death popped up on my feed first. Which is humorous to me in that “oh Universe, you are so ‘you’” kind of way because I had just been talking to a friend about another friend of his that is ill. As in, in hospice ill. And we were talking about the possible loss of this friend of my friend.
And then, that next day, up pops this Calvin and Hobbes strip about death.
Because this is how the Universe works. She pops things up. Sometimes after the fact, like this Calvin and Hobbes comic strip about death where she is basically saying “hey, I know you were talking about this and here is a little something for you, because I’ve got to get you moving along.”
That’s how she works. She drops things in to get me moving.
And so the comic strip about death, it pops up and gets me thinking, “what other Calvin and Hobbes messages of enlightenment should I know.”
And I google best of Calvin and Hobbes and this butterfly one comes up as the first image in my search. “These are the same, aren’t they?” I laugh to the Universe. She’s so witty and smart.
I am playing around a lot these days with the idea of impermanence. Not just the idea. The beauty. The beauty of impermanence. I’ve been playing around with this idea of this for a long time now.
Rolling it like clay. Wading in it as if in a pond. Tasting it like jelly on my tongue and dancing with it in song. Trying to get to the bottom of it. Trying to see what is just beyond it.
And I couldn’t get there. It had been elusive. Until now.
And then these two strips, the death one and the butterfly one, both of them, they show up.
The death one is clear. It is the “don’t forget that this is all just so fleeting. Even in long life. There is a fleetingness to it all.” The death one is a reminding of this.
And when we are reminded, when we are faced with the loss, it causes us to reflect for that moment. And we see the beauty. And we recognize it is fleeting. Life. Life is fleeting. Which makes it beautiful. The beauty of impermanence.
The other end of the spectrum of this message of impermanence, the butterfly end, this is easier to miss. Because in this, we are in action. It is us.
“This is important, isn’t it?” I begin to ask the Universe and before the thought is even clear in my mind’s conversation with her, she drops in the wisdom I seek.
When we are loss in action—when we let go of the butterfly, rather than in reaction of loss—grieve the loss of a friend, we are the beauty of impermanence.
We are it. It’s us.
And once we are this, once we see that we are impermanent, well then, then we last forever.
This is the cosmic joke of it all.
“Oh my fucking god.” I say to the Universe, and God laughs, too.
Because they have been trying to get me here. For, oh God, a really long time.
Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Rower, Runner, Dog and Cat lover.