REVEREND SUN MYUNG MOON
THE PARTICIPANTS IN
December 25, 1977
Translator - Sang Kil Han
When we think about Jesus we know that he was not born with a personal
purpose, like the average individual, but rather that he came to this
earth to save the world. Because of the fall mankind clearly needs a
savior if he is to return to God. Since mankind is not united with God
everyone must go through Jesus in order to return. God had a purpose
in creating the universe and mankind, but because of the fall His
purpose was not fulfilled and ever since God has been striving to
restore the lost men. He is determined to fulfill that purpose, which
could not be accomplished until the time of Christ. We know that the
reason God wanted to see Jesus Christ on earth was to restore the
families and individuals whom God had lost contact with, even though
mankind has never been fully aware that it required tremendous
preparation on His part to send the Messiah to the earth.
It was not easy at all for God to prepare fully to send His son.
Because man failed to accomplish the original purpose of creation, God
had to prepare someone to fulfill that original perfection, someone
who could be born in purity. Simply stated, God had to send His son
down to earth through the body of a woman, but not just any woman;
preparing that woman to be the mother of the Messiah required
Jesus' mother, Mary, was not quite in the position of having nothing
to do with sin. In other words, she was unable to obtain the level
which existed before the fall took place; she was elevated, yet not
quite to the point of having nothing to do with sin. In order to
compensate for that, Mary had to take the firm position of loving God
more than anyone else, even to an absolute, impossible degree. Also
she needed to establish the position of doing something to cut the
ties with the fall. These two conditions were essential.
Once the necessary conditions were met, Jesus was conceived in Mary's
womb and could be recognized as having no ties with the fallen act. It
is difficult to grasp, but Jesus was born way beyond the realm of the
fall and had nothing to do with sin. Once Jesus was born, God must
have been happier with him than He was with His original creation. At
the same time, however, Jesus' birth could not wipe away the painful
reality of all the fallen people. God could not ignore or forget the
fallen world. Before the fall only God exercised dominion over Adam
and Eve and there was no such thing as Satan; however, nowadays even
many devout people wrongly believe that Satan existed before man was
created. This was certainly not so.
What was the mission of Mary and Joseph?
God was not the only one in a position to try to exercise dominion
over Jesus. Satan came into existence at the moment the fall took
place, and certainly Satan continued to pursue man, especially a man
like Jesus who could fulfill God's purpose of creation. Satan was very
active and persistently tried to take Mary to his side. Mary knew that
she was in the middle of an important situation, but she did not
understand it fully. Perhaps she had a hint of her responsibility but
Mary did not completely know her situation at that time.
What about Joseph, Mary's husband? He did not fully know the situation
either, nor any other close relatives, even Jesus' brothers and
sisters. What about Jesus, then, who was born in these circumstances?
Jesus had to have understood each person's responsibility because
otherwise he would not have been able to clarify the situation. Did
Jesus know all of this the moment he was born, or did Jesus gradually
realize it while he was growing up?
It was God's intention that everyone around Jesus, including Mary and
Joseph and all the relatives, nurture Jesus and protect him from Satan
so that he could fully develop himself and his ideals before finally
undertaking his mission. They should have devoted all of their
possessions, energy and heart towards protecting Jesus so that the
will of God through him would be meticulously protected from possible
invasion by Satan. The sole purpose of their lives should have been to
protect Jesus while he was preparing for his mission.
This was the situation from God's point of view, but who thought about
that kind of thing at the time? Certainly all indications-biblical and
historical- show that they did not understand what they were to do for
Jesus. Since that time, even religious people have had only a slight
idea. The traditional attitude, for instance, has been one of praise
for the way in which the Messiah was born in a stable and laid in a
manger on straw. How could mankind be proud of the son of God being
born in a stable?
The Jews were prepared by God to receive and assist Jesus, but did
even those people really have the slightest idea of who Jesus was and
what they were supposed to do in order to help him fulfill the will of
God? They did not know a thing. Was there anyone who understood Jesus'
mission as an individual, his mission to restore his family and the
nation around his family and finally the whole world? It is very clear
that there was no one, either secular or religious, who helped Jesus
accomplish his mission.
If there was anyone at all who understood Jesus and helped him it was
God Himself. God knew, but no one else except Jesus understood his
responsibility. Was God contented and happy while looking down on His
son born in a stable, crying in the cold, with no one around him
knowing what they were supposed to do and with Satan searching
intently to find some way to stop him? Could God feel easy in that
Let us go back and think in a little more detail about what the
immediate environment was. Mary was Jesus' mother but Joseph was not
his father. When Joseph married her, Mary was pregnant and Joseph knew
that it was not his child she carried. He was a righteous man so he
married her, but was Joseph rejoicing each day because his wife had a
godly son? Or was Joseph always angry and wondering whose child it was
Joseph did not know anything except what he was told in one short
dream. Joseph was a righteous man so he married Mary as he was
instructed to do by an angel, but how long do you think Joseph could
feel righteous and happy about it? Don't you think he kept on
wondering and repeatedly asking her, "Whose baby is it?" Could Mary
just casually answer, "Oh, it was conceived by the Holy Spirit, so you
should be happy"? Even if Mary had truthfully said that, do you think
that Joseph would have responded with joy?
Be realistic and
imagine yourself in that position. Suppose everyone respects you as a
very generous man, but you have to marry some woman who is pregnant
with someone else's child. If she told you that it was conceived by
the Holy Spirit then perhaps one day you would not have resentment,
but could you still feel generous for all the years to come. You are a
good sample of people to ask this question of because as Unification
members you have a more worldwide point of view. If one of you were in
Joseph's situation, hearing gossip and criticism all around, would you
feel very happy and content with Mary? Would you be glad to serve the
child once he was born and sacrifice to protect him from evil?
It is likely that Joseph asked Mary many times whose baby she carried
because he was curious and because he tried to understand. But
remember that at that time an unmarried woman who became pregnant was
required by Mosaic law to be stoned for committing adultery. At first
Joseph probably thought he would understand, but in the long run he
could not accept the situation. Do you think that their relationship
was happy for very long? It is probable that they quarreled and
distrusted each other rather than fully understanding and cooperating
in love in the sight of God.
Once Jesus was born the rift became even greater and Joseph looked
upon Jesus as something which was not wanted and which had ruined his
relationship with Mary. This was the realistic situation that existed
all through Jesus' life. Because of their parents' attitude towards
Jesus, even his own brothers and sisters did not respect him, much
less think that he was the son of God. They even treated him worse
than they would other children because he was different.
Whenever parents respect a child then his brothers and sisters will
also, but when the father and mother are indifferent or hostile then
the chances are that the other children will treat him the same way.
The Bible records that Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple in
Jerusalem for Passover, and when they couldn't find him after the
celebrations they left for home without him, only coming back to look
for him after three days. Jesus was very indignant and condemned them.
Even in an average family can you imagine parents leaving a child of
Jesus' age all alone in a crowded city? We can safely assume that Mary
and Joseph quarreled over this. Joseph probably said, "Forget about
it. Let's leave," and Mary had to go along. Because Mary was very
insistent, however, and Joseph knew that Mary would not yield, they
turned back again to find Jesus and bring him home with them. This is
a far more logical and consistent understanding than any other
As a child, Jesus was caught
in an unbearable situation
While Mary was pregnant and while the disharmony between Mary and
Joseph continued do you think that rumors went around the whole
neighborhood about how they often fought? In a neighborhood as close
together as an ancient Jewish village the chances are that everybody
knew that Mary and Joseph did not get along together for some reason.
The high priest knew everything about his community, for instance.
Zechariah, the high priest at the time, and all the relatives at least
knew and disapproved of the situation.
Joseph's family knew that Jesus was not really one of them and even
though they might not have discussed it in front of him, Jesus was not
respected. Even now in a society as permissive as America's, if a girl
has a baby whose father is not known then there is some talk about it.
An even harsher situation prevailed in Jesus' time, when an unwed
mother was punishable by death. Certainly there would be cruel gossip.
Could Jesus grow up happy and contented like an average child under
these circumstances, or can you imagine that Jesus was caught in an
unbearable situation? Every child that Jesus played with certainly
must have made comments about things heard from his parents. Jesus
just could not have had normal relationships with other children.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that Jesus was born to save all of the
people. He was the only begotten son of God and his object of
salvation was exactly the people who ostracized him. The way the king
of kings was treated and understood by the people around him was
vastly different from God's ideal for Jesus.
Did anyone around Jesus try to defend him? There is not one account
which records such dedication. Jesus was mistreated and persecuted by
his own family because they completely lacked any understanding of who
he was. Even without his being king of kings and the son of God, was
he even treated as well as the son of a common family?
Common sense would say that even on holidays or special occasions no
one made special clothing or gifts and presented them to Jesus. The
brothers and sisters who were more favored by Joseph might have gotten
something, but even Mary was reluctant to anger Joseph by giving
anything to Jesus. Of course Jesus must have wanted to wear the
special clothes and eat the special food of that time, like we all
do, but it was not possible to acquire it. Was Jesus free to do
whatever he pleased? Circumstances always blocked him from pursuing
whatever he wanted or needed to do.
What kind of person could have consoled Jesus?
definitely knew that he was special. He heard what the common people
thought about him but his own self-image was completely different.
From the time he was small he could never talk openly in his own way.
The only consolation he could seek was in communication with God, and
he spent most of his time praying to God and seeking His guidance. As
a result Jesus became stronger and stronger in this period and
circumstances compelled him in only one direction-toward God and the
realization of His ideal. He knew that mankind's thinking was vastly
different from God's and that it had to be corrected; he also knew
that society understood nothing about what God wanted and that he
himself would have to change it. Because of his adverse circumstances
Jesus had to really pray hard to God, to the point where God could
talk to him and teach him what he would need for his future work.
Do I imagine these things and then tell you, or do I know the facts?
Although most people do not believe this, I have seen this sorrowful
situation myself. All of you can readily accept that what I have said
is true, but there is even far deeper significance than what has been
explained. Under these circumstances, do you think that during Jesus'
years on earth anyone celebrated his birthday with real joy? As Jesus
grew older and knew more and more clearly who God was and what his own
mission was supposed to be, his heart became heavier and more agonized
and his environment became more difficult to tolerate.
The most precious friend for Jesus would have been the person who came
to him, not with many presents or words of congratulations, but rather
with a tearful heart to console him in his situation and to discuss
with him what he was going to do in the future. If someone like this
had been there then Jesus would have been far happier than if someone
had come with presents. That person could have been one of his own
brothers or sisters. Knowing his hidden suffering, he or she could
have brought just a small piece of cake wrapped in a handkerchief to
give to Jesus on his birthday, saying, "The people don't understand
you, but I will try to help you. You must not be disappointed." Jesus
certainly would have welcomed such a person far more than someone who
came with a fancy present for him and then went away. If there had
been one such brother or sister in Jesus' family then Jesus would have
remembered him for a long time arid would have spoken about it.
When Jesus felt despondent he had to pray to God more intensely, and
being moved by Jesus' fervent prayer, God would have taught him, "You
will later become great in this way and rise to this particular
position." That's the way it was supposed to be anyway, with God
telling him many things in detail. Because of these experiences Jesus
knew that God was his best friend and the one closest to him, quite
unlike Joseph or Mary, or even his brothers and sisters.
Jesus was very serious in thinking about the national situation at
that time, praying about how to change things. He would have asked God
time and time again, "Father, when will the Messiah appear on this
earth to correct the situation?" Perhaps he was told many times by
God, "You are the Messiah. You are the one who has to do it." Do you
think that hearing God tell him once was sufficient for Jesus to
believe it year after year? Certainly he would have asked more than
once, wanting some other answer.
We can safely imagine that he was to]d in detail many experiences
which he could expect to happen, such as, "Expect someone to come
visit you tomorrow. At a certain time such and such a thing will
happen and you must do this and avoid this." He was instructed in this
detail by God about many things.
It is very apparent that Jesus had to train himself in this way
internally. Wherever he looked in the physical world there wasn't one
opening of understanding so he had to strengthen and redetermine
himself and prepare for his mission. Jesus knew what God had in His
plan for himself, the Israelites and all the rest of mankind. God is
spirit, but by having a body Jesus could understand the existing
situation of man's world, and he knew that he had to be the central
point to bring that world back to God. Do you think that he wanted
very much for someone to show some understanding, or that he wanted to
hear even one word of love spoken to him, knowing that without him no
one had any chance to return to God? Jesus yearned to hear the high
priest say, "We must prepare ourselves to receive you, because that's
the only way for us to return to God."
Do we know of anyone who understood and said this? The people not only
did not come near him, they even opposed him directly. Jesus know they
were on the road straight to hell and he was absolutely desperate to
make the people believe in him. To the last, the people did not
understand him and as a result Jesus was crucified. When Jesus died on
the cross he was unspeakably despondent. Jesus was absolutely
desperate at the people's lack of understanding, but how would God
have felt at losing him from the earth, and at having to prepare once
more for thousands of years to send the Messiah?
God depended upon Jesus to fulfill this mission but should God have
blessed the people anyway when Jesus was denied and crucified instead?
When Jesus was in deepest anguish on the cross God's feeling was
exactly the same. There could not be any difference whatever. When you
are really indignant and absolutely furious inside, can you even think
about giving happiness or blessing? When someone comes near you at
such a time do you feel like being generous and open-hearted? This is
exactly the feeling God had. There was absolutely no chance of His
giving any promise of salvation at that time.
With this understanding we know how much the traditional belief of
Christian churches causes deep pain to God. The most devout Christians
have taught worldwide that God had prepared for 4,000 years for Jesus
to come to die, and that Christians should be happy that he died to
give salvation. When God hears this do you think He would feel like
In this desperate situation Jesus realized the significance of what
had happened and he said, "I will come back again." Not a soul has
understood his true meaning. It is not possible for Jesus to come
again on the clouds in a happy way and magically restore the world,
yet everyone believes that that is what will happen. When millions of
people sing hymns and exchange presents and wish each other good
fortune on his birthday, could Jesus possibly be happy and wish them
well? All the festivity only serves as a painful reminder to Jesus of
the failure of half of his mission, which only he could fulfill here.
The true celebration of Christmas
Is there anyone who can celebrate Jesus' birthday in its true meaning,
understanding his situation and what he was supposed to do? There are
millions of people who celebrate Christmas because everyone else does,
but is there even one individual who knows Jesus' situation and then
commemorates the day? The only celebration which would have meaning
for him would come when one who suffers more than Jesus and is more
despondent than Jesus himself comes to Jesus, saying, "I have a
difficult situation but your situation is much worse. I would like to
celebrate your birthday nevertheless. Forget about your sorrow for a
moment." If there was someone like that then Jesus would burst into
tears and momentarily celebrate his birthday.
There are many people here in this auditorium but what kind of people
are you and what are you supposed to do? Shall we get many good things
by using Jesus' name, or shall we help Jesus, or shall we just follow
Jesus? What is this Church designed by God to do? What is the purpose
of sacrificing ourselves? By sacrificing we are to fulfill the idea
which Jesus pursued and thus bring everyone into unity.
When we become one with Jesus and he is happy then we will be happy,
but when he is not happy and things are difficult will we avoid him
for awhile? Are we going to be one with him at the time of the cross
or before, or even earlier, when God planned the dispensation? Are we
going to be the group whose tradition and vision begin even before the
time of Jesus with the ideal of God, when there was no Satan but only
perfect unity in every way? Can we start from there and go through
difficulty, participating in God's glory all along? Are we going to be
one with the Christ from that time on until the realization of God's
ideal on earth?
At Jesus' time the people did not understand him, but today everyone
must understand this realm of heart. If someone in the most lowly
servant position had come to console Jesus and talk with him, Jesus
would have felt much closer to him than to all the other brilliant
people at that time. Because that person's heart would have been
closer to Jesus' he would have been close in every other way as well.
Jesus wouldn't have stopped that person from coming just because he
wasn't in the same noble position as Jesus; he would have embraced him
right there and burst into tears. That is the realm of heart, the
standard of value, which surpasses any national or social boundary and
which can link people forever.
Can people feel complete oneness simply by sitting around a plush
banquet table eating steaks and good food? It is the really desperate
situation where everybody sheds tears together that heartfelt unity
with Christ is realized. Why would you prefer the second setting? You
feel drawn that way, not because you like struggle, but because Jesus
feels that way and God feels that way. The only reason why everyone
must also do such a thing is in order to share in whatever God has for
This is also true for me. People would prefer many other things, but
even though the family may drift away or the society may not give a
ready welcome or the world may not understand, we cannot abandon the
way which God has opened for mankind and the Messiah, no matter how
difficult it is. This is why I am doing what I am doing. The sole
purpose for my being here is to have you follow exactly the same path
as God Himself. Do you agree with that? Sometimes it is very difficult
but this is the only sure way to become a friend of Jesus and of God
We chose the same way Jesus did and in that way we can understand and
participate in the friendship of God. In that process each person will
be chased away by his own physical family and society, but still he
must follow God and Christ the same way Jesus did. This is the only
true religious way and the Unification Church finds itself in that
Each one must think about whether he is going to cling to the dying
Jesus on the cross or to the living Jesus before the cross, or to
God's ideal even before Jesus was born. If anyone is clinging to that
original time and becoming one with God, then after the birth of Jesus
and his activities on earth he must be one with him until the
fulfillment of the dispensation. If a woman is going to follow Jesus
she must follow with the heart of Mary and relieve that situation of
2,000 years ago by trying to be the best possible Mary. If it is a man
then he should try to serve Christ in the position of Joseph, being
determined to protect Jesus from any possible invasion and serving him
until the fulfillment of the mission.
To follow Christ a person must also follow like Jesus' own brothers
and sisters, who were meant to understand him completely and love him
and do the most difficult things for him. By doing this and becoming
one with Jesus, Jesus and God Himself will never be able to say in the
future, "I don't know you." Those who are following Christ as a real
friend can console him, going over the path of thorns in this world
and feeling fury at all the injustice done to him. Such people can
say, "They don't understand. I will compensate for their mistakes so
don't blame them or be agonized at the situation. Try to forget about
them and let's do it together." If the Messiah had had such followers
then certainly God would have been able to come and liberate the rest
of the dispensation. If someone came to Jesus to express regret at his
difficulties then Jesus would answer, "Well, it is difficult but I can
bear it. But how about you? Your path is more difficult." Such a flow
of heart is the foundation for heaven on earth.
How can we soothe the turmoil
in God's heart and Jesus' heart?
How should I nurture the Unification Church and in what direction
should I lead it? Our purpose is not to become happy and comfortable
together but rather to persevere in hardship; the job has to be done
and we will even search for the most difficulty to go over in order to
console Jesus and God along this way. How can you say that is good?
That is the only way to soothe the turmoil in the hearts of Jesus and
God Himself. We have to straighten out the regrets and the incredibly
oppressed feeling, the furious sense of frustration that God has and
Christ has. Without untangling that, there is no chance for mankind to
be blessed or to come anywhere near the concept of blessing.
If we avail ourselves like that then everyone can go back before the
time of the cross and be the real friends of Jesus, be the best Mary
and the best Joseph. Everyone can become completely one with Jesus in
its truest sense. Even though you live 2,000 years after Jesus did,
you can be friends with him because love is not bound by time and
space. When you are persecuted in the street and spit at, are you
persevering for yourself or because of mankind and God? Because we can
go beyond time and even space to become completely one in dove and
heart, even before the time of history, we can persevere that way.
When Satan tries to condemn and persecute Christ himself, each person
ought to be very strong and resolve, "For me there is no Satan and no
doubt. There is no such thing as a second thought about protecting and
serving Jesus himself on earth." At Jesus' time the best follower
would have thought only of the nation that they were involved in, but
now we will go even beyond our own nation and work for the sake of the
world. We have to be proud of living that way.
We will pick up where Jesus left off and fulfill the salvation of the
nation and then go beyond that to the world. Jesus was opposed by only
one race and one religious denomination, but in the course of saving
the world we are persecuted by many races and many denominations. We
will surely face that opposition so we have to feel supremely
confident. Why should we choose that course? We do it so that together
with Christ we can inherit his work for the sake of the country and
the world. First we inherit the work of Jesus who fought for his
country's salvation and after that we will inherit the work for the
world at the Second Advent. Our suffering now is much beyond the
national level; not only all denominations will come against us but
all religions will persecute us, yet we will still cross over it. Even
Jesus did not experience that. This is the first such encounter even
We must determine that by going through this difficulty we will surely
become strong leaders, training ourselves in the position of Jesus'
twelve disciples. When the disciples met a difficult situation with
Jesus they all fled. There was no trace of them when Jesus confronted
his most difficult time. Of course we must be better than any
disciples at that time to stand strong and protect our Lord. If we do
that then God will have a strong grasp on us and won't let go. That
means we are in safe hands and no matter who opposes us-the communists
or the whole free world-could God be really disheartened?
The one who is persecuted can only get nearer and nearer to God. In
other words, there is nothing to lose and inevitably you can be the
closest of all to God. This is exactly what happens when anyone
perseveres to his real breaking point. Then God Himself appears to
teach him in detail. Anyone can experience His miracles 24 hours a
Though we are scorned we are happy, fortunate people. Sometimes you
don't eat well and you might not get much sleep; your parents even try
to kidnap you but still you are fortunate. Even with that kind of
persecution we have stayed on the side of God. This is a historic
achievement and God will give you His highest praise. At the same time
God will pour out His fullest love to you. That is condition enough.
We can call ourselves the fortunate ones since we love God to that
extent and since God loves us in return; in the end love reaches
everywhere, dominating everything. In fact, we can become like God
Himself because of love. Because we love Him that much and He loves us
that much, we are the same as God. After all, we are the sons of God;
the only difference is that He is subject and we are object.
My topic is "The Participants in Celebrating Christmas." The world is
celebrating Christmas in its best way and we are celebrating Christmas
in our way. Let us celebrate this Christmas in the truest sense,
understanding the true situation of Jesus and the meaning of his
second coming, devoting all our heart and love to becoming one in love
with God. Then we are the participants in all that belongs to God.
No matter how shabby the clothing we wear and no matter how unworthy
we may be, even if we don't have any presents to bring, if we devote
our heart for that cause, we can be the true participants in this
Christmas. The world is celebrating Christmas but not in the true way
and God does not find any meaning at all in that celebration. Our
numbers are small but our hearts are intense in the desire to be one
I wonder whether members were thinking of all the joyous times at
Christmases in their past as they walked in here this morning, and
whether they didn't wish they could relive those happy moments instead
of celebrating Christmas so seriously in the Unification Church. After
this service each one must go out in the rain to continue his daily
chores, and you might have wondered why you aren't taking the day off.
We must remind ourselves that this is the saddest day of all for God
and Jesus. Jesus never had one real birthday celebration when he was
on earth, and it will be immensely meaningful to him to see the many
people who are gathered here to celebrate in the true sense. Wouldn't
you be grateful to participate in the true Christmas celebration? Do
you think Jesus would be happy to see that the people gathered here
have had tears and sweat staining their faces, and have gone without
beautiful clothes to do God's work? Do you feel confident that Jesus
would be deeply moved to see you gathered here to sing Christmas songs
and wish him happy birthday?
You must know for sure that you are on the road to becoming sons and
daughters of God, to whom even God and Jesus can be thankful for what
you have done. Such people are the most beautiful women in the world
and the greatest men. Jesus would certainly pick a wife from such a
group, completely disregarding anyone else's beautiful clothing or
jewelry or education. Would you be a participant in celebrating
Christmas in its truest sense? Do you celebrate with a feeling of
complaint hidden in your pocket? Those of you who are determined that
for the rest of your lives you will stay close to the path of Christ,
embracing the past and present and the future until God's will is
fulfilled, raise your hands. God bless you. Let us pray.