The True Meaning Of Christmas
Reverend Sun Myung Moon
December 25, 1979
World Mission Center
Translator: Bo Hi Pak
Merry Christmas! In a few more days the year of 1979 will be over. When another year passes by it denotes that we are becoming one year older and also that much closer to the spirit world. That could be a pessimistic statement, but actually the spirit world is our ultimate destination, and it is not a bad world to look forward to.
What is the true meaning of Christmas and why do we celebrate? It is not done for America’s sake or for the sake of the world. We celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The central issue of this day is what kind of Christmas Jesus would have wanted.
Who sent Jesus? God sent him, and God had a certain will for sending His son. Considering the political situation in that part of the world at that time, what kind of Christmas would God have wanted people to celebrate? Who should have been the first person or people to celebrate Jesus’ birth? Not Jesus himself, certainly, because he had just been born. The first person truly to celebrate should have been God Himself, who caused His son to be born. Furthermore, the angels and all spirit world joined together, glorifying and praising that great day. Here on earth, however, Jesus’ birth was only quietly welcomed because few people knew of his coming. We can see that the birth of Jesus was truly celebrated in heaven, centering upon God, but on earth hardly any celebration took place.
The Christian world honors Christmas by setting up nativity scenes of Jesus in a manger. Actually a manger is a very lowly place. They are proud of Jesus being placed in a manger, but is this the kind of place God’s son, the King of kings, should be born? Do you think God truly wanted His son to be born in a stable?
What about Jesus’ mother, who knew through revelation what kind of son she was bearing? Do you think she was happy that her son, the Messiah, was born in a stable? I’m sure Mary would have thought that the son of God would deserve more than the most elegant palace. The appropriate way for the son of God to arrive would be with announcements of hour-by-hour bulletins and a proclamation throughout the land when he arrived.
If the priests, scribes and rulers of Israel had known of Jesus’ coming, I’m sure that during the ten months before his birth everyone would have been eagerly awaiting his arrival, and would have come to worship even before he was born. Mary would have been treated like a queen wherever she went. A record would have been kept of everything she did — if she ate a snack, how many times she went to the bathroom, how long she slept. If people had truly known that the son of God was in Mary’s womb, the twelve tribes of Israel would all have competed in trying to serve him before his birth.
If that had been the case, do you think the people would ever have allowed him to be born in a stable? A great fanfare would have been prepared, great bells readied to ring and bands to play. Should the birth of the son of God be an event greater than America’s independence day? America preserves her cracked Liberty Bell, but a small bell that rang to herald the day of Jesus birth would be preserved in a shrine as a priceless item. If there were a record of the Jews fighting each other to be the first to offer the new baby some gift at his birth, would that make Jesus unhappy?
Jesus came after God had worked for 4,000 years in preparation. After all that preparation the greatest event was the coming of God’s son to this earth. Is the fact that he then came in such a humble way to a lowly place the pride or shame of history? Ultimately Jesus was crucified, but if Jesus had begun his life in the recognition that he was the son of God, would the history of his life have been different? Truly he would have been treated as the king of Israel. Furthermore, if he had been embraced by the chosen people then he should have received more glory as God’s representative than the emperor of Rome.
God wanted to see all the great priests of the day gather to hold the holy child. If Jesus had been recognized from the moment of his birth as the son of God and the long awaited Messiah, then all the chiefs of the twelve tribes would have competed to serve him as he was growing. Then when he was 21 he could have exercised the authority of the Messiah, and because the people would have been so busy serving him he never would have an idle moment.
What kind of education would Jesus have received? Truly he would have been taught about the importance of the mission and responsibility he had. From the early days Jesus would have known he was born as the son of God and his mission was to be the King of kings, who would initiate God’s kingdom here on earth. Would history have been different then? Then wouldn’t the entire world celebrate Jesus’ birth, generation after generation?
If the Jews squarely proclaimed that Jesus was born not only as king of Israel but King of kings, including the Roman Empire, would Rome have welcomed him? Not at all. When Israel prepared to celebrate Christmas, the Romans would be in an uproar, for according to Jewish prophecy even the Roman Emperor should bow down and present a gift. Don’t you think the Romans would send their legions to crush Israel in that case? If the Roman legions surrounded the arena where the celebration was being held, wouldn’t the Israelites have gathered around Jesus to protect him?
You have seen on the news how the Iranian militants demonstrate against America’s President Carter. The Arabs are kin to the Israelites, so if the Romans demonstrated against Jesus like the Iranians are against the Americans, wouldn’t the Arabs be in a position to support the Jews in resisting the Romans? The political confrontation between Israel and Rome would grow into a confrontation on a global scale, with the Arabs backing Israel. That would affect other religious Asian countries, like India and China, which would then support Israel as well. The greater the oppression of the Romans, the greater would be the unity to resist the Romans and truly celebrate Christmas. Instead of Jesus reaching the age of thirty unnoticed, there would have been such acclaim and attention from the time of his birth that by the time he was thirty the entire world would already have been united with him against the Roman Empire.
They would not be supporting him blindly, but would have investigated why he should be the King of Kings and why a Messiah was needed. All the great thinkers of the world would have been concerned about this, and, knowing who Jesus truly was, would have knowledgeably supported him. Then the world would have been divided into two camps — the Roman Empire, and the nations which supported Jesus and Israel. Then when the Roman Empire mobilized their military to stamp down the opposition would the world remain silent in fear? No minister except Reverend Moon has ever considered such a hypothesis as this.
Christmas is truly the celebration of the birth of God’s son, but without knowing God’s purpose for sending him there cannot truly be a celebration of Christmas. I have described what could have happened externally, but think about Jesus himself. Would he have thought that he didn’t need anyone else to help him rule the world as Messiah? Or would he have thought he would need a wife, in-laws, children and grandchildren so that his tradition could be passed down? Don’t you think Jesus felt he needed to be exemplary in all human relations on earth and should occupy every position a human being could have parent, grandparent, in-law-so he could set the heavenly tradition?
Many Christians think that Jesus was God Himself, so he didn’t need anyone and only worked like a machine. You are so called Moonies, whom people say are not true Christians, so you say this is not true. We Moonies are supporting a revolutionary concept; modem Christian leaders would be knocked out by what I am saying this morning. There are two major schools of thought — the conventional school of thought and the Moonies’ thought. Which thought would Jesus support? After praying many hours to find out the truth about this, I think that Jesus would like my thought.
You are ordinary U.S. citizens, yet you want to become President so you can bring this nation to the side of righteousness. Wouldn’t Jesus, as the Messiah, be thinking of the world kingdom which he would govern, as a parent and grandparent? One religious camp teaches that Jesus came to die, but the other teaches that Jesus was sent as Messiah to bring salvation by being the father of mankind and bringing the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Whose Christmas celebration would God and Jesus want to attend?
If something is logical then it should be consistent from beginning to end. Christianity today is a worldwide religion which has prospered for 2,000 years, yet today it is entangled in confusion and chaos. Why? Because the beginning and end of today’s Christian thought are not consistent. Look at the contradictions in Christian thought and Christian practice: Jesus came to build one world, but contrary to Jesus’ will there are now several hundred denominations dividing Christianity Greater division has been brought about. No matter how people try, they cannot justify this.
But what I say about Jesus’ purpose makes sense. It was because the people did not accept Jesus that the crucifixion, which was contrary to God’s will, came about.
What is the difference between a loyal subject and a traitor? Both say they are serving their country, but the loyal subject is the one who follows the will of the king without compromise. The traitor is the one who always thinks his way is right and wants the king to follow him. God’s desire is to have one world and so Jesus came to bring unity. But some Christians ignore this because they are more concerned with maintaining the power of their own denomination. When they disregard God’s ideal and promote their own, they are acting like traitors.
What does the Unification Church think? In order to fulfill God’s will we can forget about denomination, and ignore even racial and national barriers. We are going the way of loyal subjects, but many people are reluctant to give up the old ways. They could care less if God’s will is done here on earth.
Today the followers of Reverend Moon are being accused and persecuted by the world, but in the sight of God and Jesus we are the true central religion, the orthodox of orthodox. Therefore, I proclaim today that Christianity needs to learn a direction and new way of life. My direction is now being supported by spirit world, Jesus Christ and God Himself. How do you know I’m not the greatest swindler in the world? If you use your own logical minds you can deduce whether what I am saying is true or not.
If Jesus had been recognized as the Messiah by his contemporaries, yet he had been too shy to accept such recognition, don’t you think they would search everywhere to find him and put him on a throne? Looking down on this scene would God kick Jesus off the throne, or would He smile and tell Jesus that he was in the very place he should be?
When we think of the true meaning of Jesus coming then today’s Christianity is like an empty shell, lacking true content. If Christians were true Christians, how could they sit down and eat turkey on Christmas Day when they know that the communist power is about ready to take over the world?
Why do we need Jesus? Why do we need the Messiah? The important thing to know is that we are born into a satanic lineage of hereditary sin based on satanic love. We need a Messiah because we want to have God centered love, and only the Messiah can give us that love. Jesus needed to eat and sleep like everyone else, but Jesus led a life that God could rejoice over; that was the difference. We need Jesus in order to learn his way of life, so that we can inherit the tradition of unstained heavenly love. In order to do that we have to follow his way of life, obeying his instructions.
Could Jesus completely exemplify the heavenly tradition if he were a bachelor? Because Jesus was always a bachelor we have not seen any other tradition, but that was only the first step of Jesus’ contribution. He was to have given the world not only a tradition of individual perfection, but also the tradition of love between husband and wife. As a God centered man he wanted to show how men should live. As a husband he was to show how to be a model God centered husband. Does the Bible teach this? Have you ever read in the Bible how Jesus loved his wife?
Would God call Jesus a heretic for thinking that he should marry? Christianity does not have the tradition of a husband’s love for his wife. Furthermore, Jesus wanted not only to love his wife but to teach her how to set the tradition of wifehood. Does the Bible record that tradition? Is there any record of Jesus becoming a father who could teach people the right way to love their children? Is there any indication that Jesus became a grandfather who could show how grandchildren should be loved?
Did Jesus leave any tradition for Christianity of leading a tribe? Is there any tradition for a king and ruler of the world about how to govern with God’s love? Is there any tradition of a king of kings who governs without any national or racial prejudice? Is there a tradition for governing not only the physical world but also the spirit world, of showing what the Kingdom of Heaven should be like for eternity?
Is there a tradition of the love of God here on earth? Jesus came to teach this tradition. He struggled by himself but finally was crucified, and there was not much room for him to leave the traditions that God wanted here on earth. Compared to the scope of the mission Jesus came to fulfill here on earth, he spoke only a small bit about the tradition of the love of God. The bulk of it has been left undone. It is essentially true that Jesus must return to pick up that mission and finish it. Isn’t that logical?
What is love? What is the love of God from the point of view of Christianity? This world we live in is truly a wilderness, for there is no taste of the love of God in it. People hardly have a concept of the love of God. In this wilderness I came to cry out for the love of God. In itself this is a historical mission. I am proclaiming in this wilderness how the love of God should be.
I came to this world knowing precisely the will of God, and the agony and heart of Jesus. I know what no one else has ever known and I came to proclaim it to the world. People who think they are the zealous Christians today, who think they have happiness, are the real traitors in the eyes of God. People don’t want to hear that; they want acclamation and great respect instead. But there is no word of praise I could give them.
Today people don’t write out the word Christmas, but use Xmas instead. Often on a test 0 means true and X means false. Thus, written as Xmas, Christmas is the false, upside down message. People are celebrating the wrong kind of Christmas. When you hear me say this it makes sense, but because of this people say I am a heretic who is attacking the 2,000 year old Christian tradition.
Again, the important thing is which side God is receptive to. If the entire world has another opinion, how can you be so sure God would take my side? When we know that the true meaning of Christmas is that God sent Jesus to bring the true tradition of love, then when we exchange Christmas greetings they will be sweet and acceptable to Jesus.
Jesus led a tragic life of accusation and persecution and finally crucifixion. He truly led the most miserable life, and his one wish would be for one man to step forward and tell the world who he truly was and how he felt, why he cried out on Gethsemane. He would want someone to speak out for him who could look at the world through his eyes, with the tradition of the love of God, and tell the world what to do. Jesus would want that spokesman to vindicate his mission, to herald the tradition of love that Jesus could not finish during his own life. This is the kind of champion Jesus truly wants to see in this world.
In the fallen world men look at a beautiful woman and think how they can have her for themselves. When Jesus looked at any woman — whether charming, feeble, young or old — Jesus felt she was his sister and thought about how to love her in a pure, heavenly way. When seen through Jesus’ eyes, even the ugliest possible woman — so ugly you would have to spell ugly with ten “U”s — would truly be a sister and he would pour out his genuine heart to her. That’s how Jesus looked at all mankind.
Only a few relationships are possible with the rest of mankind — a person is your sister or brother, mother or father, uncle or aunt, or a member of your race. Whenever you see an old man, you can think of him as your grandfather, as Jesus’ grandfather. Jesus would have given his grandfather utmost respect, so that is how you should look at the old man.
Is there any group who truly represents Jesus’ heart, and can tell him that they are here to vindicate him and recreate his work on earth? When there is a group of people doing that every day, would Jesus have tears in his eyes as he watched them? He would exclaim, “The entire world never came near to understanding me. How can you keep going, and never mind when you are accused and persecuted as you try to comfort my heart?” Is there any way Jesus could just sit still watching? He would do everything possible to help and mobilize all spirit world.
The people who want to see the Unification Church dispersed for good and have their own denomination rise are seeing exactly the opposite happen instead. The Unification Church is booming while other churches are declining. The younger people are gathering here, while the older people stay there. Which group represents hope? Once you taste the tradition of God’s love there is no way you could separate yourself from it. Even God could not afford to leave you. What a great hope!
Of course God would want to stay here if this is where He finds love. If this is where you found love, would you fight among yourselves? If there was love here, would God be the one trying to get away while you held Him back, or would you be the one trying to get away and God be the one holding you back? Would you only stay with God one hour or forever? That’s the hope I am living for. What other joy could I have in this world if not for the hope of the tradition of God’s love? Everywhere I go people criticize me and call me a monster who brainwashes people. We have a better term; brainwashing is actually moon-washing, or love-washing.
We are gathered to celebrate the true Christmas because we know God and His purpose; we know Jesus’ purpose and intention for coming to this world. And in addition we are handpicked by God to vindicate Jesus and liberate the heart of God by accomplishing what Jesus left undone. If we say Merry Christmas with that mind then God and Jesus would respond thousands of times, “Merry, merry, merry Christmas.”
This year’s Christmas is different from all the other Christmases you celebrated in the past because you know its true meaning. You want to do more for God and Jesus in 1980 than you did in 1979 so that you can celebrate Christmas even more next year. Look back on how you have loved the people with Jesus’ heart and looked at them as he would. How good a Christian have you been? Jesus looked at everyone as his family; that has to be the tradition of Christianity today, but is that being done?
No other people are truly responding to the call of God. We are given the divine mission which no one else is undertaking. There is nothing greater or more important to God and Jesus and mankind than establishing the tradition of God’s love. The commitment you can give that task should be greater than to any other task, and far greater than the dedication of the communists to their cause. Love is supreme; nothing is more perfect or precious. Once established it will remain forever, so for this task there is nothing we cannot spare.
Have you truly loved the world that much? Basically you have been living capriciously, but you must realize that your body is not yours– it should be the personification of God’s love. It is the holy temple of God, who is love. It should be a love temple. If someone squeezes you, love juice should come out, and through you people should find salvation and eternal life.
Christmas Day is the perfect day for repentance, for checking how much you have truly lived as Jesus’ representative and loved the world as he did. We are the only people inheriting the true tradition of Christmas which God conceived in His heart. The true meaning of Christmas is the tradition of the true love of God.
It doesn’t matter how big or small our festivities are; we will celebrate a Christmas which God and Jesus will want to attend. After hearing me, “Merry Christmas” becomes “Concerned Christmas.” This year you greet each other with “Heavy Christmas,” with the desire that next year we can truly celebrate a Merry Christmas. Will fruitcake and ice cream make a merry Christmas? The true content of Christmas is the amount of love you gave during the year. That is far more dazzling than any amount of decorations.
When you truly live the tradition of love during the year, even if you don’t have a piece of fruitcake but only a half glass of water to toast God and Jesus with, they will receive yours as the most beautiful and memorable Christmas. I know that God and Jesus Christ will truly appreciate that kind of Christmas.
Would you promise me that you will expand the rather small love you have had until now and truly give the world a Niagara Falls of God’s love so we can really celebrate Christmas in 1980? That is the best Christmas present. Shall we do it? God bless you.