It portrayed a story about fearful people in the form of Mary and Joseph being governed by an evil Empire and ruled by a wicked king who wants to kill their child Jesus. The irony of this telling is that the children in the play were mainly Muslim and the army personnel in the watchtowers of Israeli wall were probably Jewish, and the Nativity is about two Jews, Mary and Joseph fleeing from an evil Empire that want to harm them. Many confusing issues in a complicated situation; however the story has one fundamental message. When we live in fear and under oppression we are inspired that a saviour will save us from our perceived tyranny.
Many faiths have similar stories and their heroes and villains. Sometimes we cannot tell the hero from the villain, or our viewpoints or upbringing may alter how we perceive tyranny.
All the faith stories appear to have some form of divine figure or God. There is usually two sides, one smaller side of heroes and an larger overwhelming side of villains (eg the Bhagavad Gita) and some form of a battle or war. These stories then seem to shape how we behave towards our fellow beings. We can justify our historical actions of massacre and murder in the name of our divine figure or his prophets.
This 2000 year old story has been told many times in the form of popular literature and film. Luke Skywalker is the young New Hope in Star Wars against the tyrannical Empire and the evil Emperor succeeding where others have failed. There are many other ‘saviour-like’ figures that we may relate to and that bring us hope.
It does appear that whenever God gives a message such as “Love your neighbour as yourself”, the message is interpreted by human beings and often that leads to oppression, suppression and persecution of somebody else. This is where fear comes to play its role. To love ourselves we may point the finger of righteousness at someone else and say they are not my neighbour because of something they are that does not fit with our perception of our neighbour. It may be for the protection of property, money or power that we behave in such a way.
What if we live another way? What if we decide that we have a power inside of us? A power we may call God, the Divine or Love, the name is not important. What is important is that we realise that power and how we use it every time we make a decision. And think how many decisions we make in a single day. With our power, we can decide to undertake an action that supports ourselves and all others around us, or we can decide to use that power to undertake an action that harms ourselves and others around us. Actually, this is already how we behave, sometimes it is consciously and sometimes unconsciously. Sometimes we are the New Hope and sometimes we are the evil Empire.
At this time of Christmas we talk about there being a saviour and we pray that we will be saved by this figure. What if we are that sacred, divine child, that we are the saviour? That would mean in our very next thought and in our very next action we would be saving the world from tyranny, giving people hope that their world will be better one to live in. If we all have this power in us, all we have to do is choose. What can you choose, tyranny or freedom?