There was great rejoicing when Christ was born. The angels, the shepherds and the wise men joyed at his coming. People knew from the prophecies that a king would be born who was to be a saviour but they thought he would be an earthly king and would save Israel from Roman oppression. However, his kingdom, he said, was not of this world. He came to free us from slavery to our own selfishness and negative emotions and to show us the way back to innocence. This is why he was born as an innocent baby – to show us that the true essence of the infinite God is pure innocence.
According to the Writings of Swedenborg, it was the infinite God, the Creator, who had come in human form. He put on a physical body through his mother, Mary, so that he could experience life as we do and at our level. He was able then to be tempted in all respects as we are and to overcome those temptations. Each one of us is influenced at all times by good and bad spiritual spheres and we are in freedom to choose which influences we will allow to affect us. At the time of the Lord’s coming, people were no longer in spiritual freedom because the bad spiritual spheres had come to outweigh the good ones due to mankind’s fall into self-love – the love of dominating over others – and materialism. Innocent people were being possessed. God came to earth to give us a way to come back to him. Through Jesus’ life of fighting against and overcoming the influence of the hells on people, he restored freedom in the spiritual realm so that we can once again choose the right path.
When we are tempted to do harm or break any of the commandments, God gives us the opportunity to take a step towards innocence. This is the state of harmlessness and complete trust in him (pictured by a tiny baby). We all start out in a state of innocence but over the years it becomes covered over by our reactions to adversity and negativity. If we look for it we can see the innocent goodness that God planted at the heart of every person in their infancy. This is the state that God wants each of us to gradually return to, with a difference. The difference is the wisdom we gain through our life experience.
Let’s not get so caught up in the shopping, planning and partying this Christmas that we give no thought to the real reason for the season. It is a time for rejoicing. God came to our earth as a little child, a human being, in order to restore freedom to a fallen world. This is good news and certainly something to celebrate.