At this time of year we often hear much talk about our Messiah, but my question to you now is “Who is your messiah?” You may answer that it is Christ, and that is a noble and positive response, but is Christ really your Messiah? Do your thoughts, beliefs, actions, priorities, perceptions, and general approach to your life correspond with having Christ as your Messiah? A messiah is defined as “a deliverer” or one who will free us from some sort of bondage or trouble. Who do you look to when you are in trouble? Do you see Christ as your way out of difficulty? Better yet, how do you see Him as your way out? How you answer these questions has much to reveal about how many messiahs you really have.
In the old days, families tended to be larger, with many kids learning to grow up together and how to cooperate, be unselfish, and be grateful for what they had. Parents could not spoil anybody, even if they wanted to, because they had to spread the love more efficiently and profoundly than they do today. There are only so many hours in the day and days in the year, and parents had to make the most of that time as effectively as possible.
Today, families tend to be smaller, with much less kids. In fact, many kids are only children and therefore the unfortunate recipients of absurd attention and focus. If you are treated like a prince or princess, you start believing that you are it, the center of it all, and you become spoiled. Somewhere along the line, you start to see things through only your eyes. If something fits your perception of things, that is truth. If something does not jive with the way you see or experience things, it is wrong and to be avoided.
Furthermore, your agenda becomes the transcendent factor in determining everything. If something gets in the way of your plans and self-view, it is wrong or f oolish and deserves to be at least ignored and, if possible, mocked. If, on the other hand, that something fits your way of see or doing things, that activity is “normal” and acceptable.
This is why many people do not like Christianity in general and, in many cases, Catholicism in particular. They see it as all about out-dated, even ancient, rules and regulations coupled with judgments and narrow-minded ways of looking at things. This is because these people, whether they realize it or not, cannot conceive of subordinating themselves and their wants to any higher power at all. This is why what matters is what offends them and, for that matter, anything that offends them should be removed, not because of some rational or historically sound argument but, rather, simply because it “offends” them. These people have become, in fact, their own messiahs. They see themselves as the answers to their own prayers. Not used to having to sacrifice, compromise, or subordinate their individual needs and wants to anything, these people refuse to do so and simply look for “thoughtful” ways around this dilemma.
They see receiving as more important than giving, and value gifts in material, rather than spiritual, terms. They find no room at the Inn because their head does not fit through the door!
King Herod was his own messiah as shown by his internal, self-focused attention. Murdering innocent infants was acceptable because it was convenient, practical, and a seemingly logical “solution” to his problem, regardless of how it affected others. The shepherds and Wise Men, on the other hand, were not their own messiahs but, rather, looked to the True Messiah as their focus of attention. They were not bringing their presence or gifts out of some calculated networking effort. It must have been inconvenient and difficult to go out of their usual comfort zone to adore a shivering infant but, as people who look externally for their messiah often do, these people looked for something or someone greater than themselves as worthy of their worship, praise, and focus.
So, we must abandon the foolish notion that we are our own messiahs or, for that matter, the equally superficial view that we should only run to God when we think we need Him, for these so-called strategies are brimming with the false ideas that we are our own answer or that God is plan B or a convenient fallback option. If you really believe that God is all that matters, and that Christ is your Messiah, God is the only option!
Above and beyond the shepherds and Magi, however, why not look at how The Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph put their comfort and convenience aside to follow the Will of God and rightly focus on the only Messiah any of us really needs. In a word, make sure that you see the Star of Bethlehem above the manger rather than in the mirror!
Copyright, 2011 Gabriel Garnica