At this time of year, many of us celebrate the birth of Jesus.
What was his essential message as a spiritual teacher?
As he taught and showed compassion for the marginalized and trounced some rigid rules, he was asked which are the most important commandments: He quoted from his Jewish tradition and said: “Love God with all your heart, mind and soul.” (cited from Deuteronomy.)
Then Jesus mentioned the second commandment: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” (from Leviticus.)
Both citations were from what many call the “Old Testament” or “Hebrew Bible.” But what Jesus added was that the second commandment was “like unto the first.”
In other words, we love God by loving our neighbour as ourself. Immediately afterward, Jesus went on to give an illustration of what he meant by telling the story of The Good Samaritan.
Normally Jews and Samaritans didn’t get along with each other.
That lesson of caring for and about our fellow human, regardless of race or religion, seems to me to be the essential message of Christmas. A sign regarding this now could read “Improvement Needed!”