and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor,
The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Is 9:6)
I have written in an earlier post on my understanding of The Nativity Story. To those who have read anything I’ve written over the years on matters spiritual it will come as no surprise that I construe the Bible, along with other pieces of sacred scripture, as writings on psychology and metaphysics.
What do I mean by the ‘Spirit of God,' an expression I used in the paragraph above? Well, call it the Spirit of Life if you prefer. (I do.) I am talking about the very livingness (or Self-livingness) of life itself manifesting itself in us as an all-encompassing and all-providing Presence and Power, bringing with it peace, a tranquil stillness, joy, love, and healing at one or more levels. I am talking about the very ‘seat’ of inner power and causation that is the very ground of your be-ing. I am talking about your very ‘I Am-ness,’ the life that is in you and as you---a life that will survive the dissolution of your form, indeed all forms. It is forever a case of the Spirit of Life moving upon Itself, 'imaging' Itself to be this and that---undifferentiated Consciousness, or formeless awareness, forever taking shape and form.
In truth, each one of us, as a unique individualization of the Spirit of Life, lives in the ‘secret place of the Most High’ (Ps 91:1). Sadly, the majority of people spend most if not all of their lives in ignorance of that fact. Be that as it may, the birth of the Christ Child has everything to do with the coming forth in you, as you, of the ideal person---an inner power and potentiality that the Bible mystically refers to as 'Christ in you, the hope of glory' (Col 1:27). (Please don't confuse the latter with Jesus, at least not in any unique or exclusive sense. In that regard, read on.)
Now this is important. You may not even be a Christian. You may not even believe in a traditional God at all. You may not even consider yourself religious in any way. That doesn’t really matter. (At least you have a lot less to unlearn than those who have indoctrinated from an early age to believe this or that religious dogma.) The real ‘good news’ is that the Christ Child can still be born within you. The point is, we are all human beings, and the experience to which I refer is a very human one. It is an experience in which we become more fully human such that we come to embrace and enjoy a newly born awareness of the Presence and Power of life manifesting itself in us and as us.
For holy Mary’s grace,
her wondrous glowing love,
we thank thee as a pattern set
to lift our thoughts above.
It is significant that the Shepherds---those who, traditionally, are led well-educated but who live and work closer to the ground, the working people of the world---are the first who are ‘chosen’ to know of the birth of the Christ Child. In the Bible, shepherds often became great rulers and prophets. They are the really intelligent ones among us.
Expressed slightly differently, the words ‘Jesus Christ’ mean ‘I am illumined,’ or ‘I am awakened.’ (‘Anointed’ is the more Biblical word, but nothing too much turns on it for present purposes.) No wonder Jesus said, ‘What I say to you [his disciples] I say to all: Stay awake’ (Mk 13:37). Also, when the historical Buddha was asked, ‘Who are you?’ he answered, ‘I am awake.’ It is essentially the same idea. Wake up---and stay awake. When the Christ Child is born, or born anew, in you, you are awakened, you are illumined. You are no longer in bondage to your lower or false self, you have ‘died’ to all false beliefs, prejudices and limitations. Your whole consciousness is illumined. You are … free! You are … unlimited! Remember this---the only chains that bind you are the ones you have shackled yourself with. So often in life we fall asleep to the spiritual truth of our be-ing, that there is within each of us that ‘true light, which lighteth every person that cometh into the world’ (Jn 1:9).
Well, my friends, let the real you come forth. Let the Christ Child be born within you---this Child that comes to you not as a child in swaddling clothes nor as some sort of resurrected Jesus. Whatever be your status in life, whatever be your problem, know this---there is always a way out! Follow that Star. Then, when the Christ Child is born, or born anew, in you, make sure your life bears witness to that fact. You see, the birth of the Christ Child is much, much more than just some inner event that is for your own personal benefit alone. No, far from it. The birth of the Christ Child is, and always has been, about giving, giving, and giving. When the Christ Child is born in you, you will want to give various gifts to others---gifts such as the gifts of peace, light, truth, and love.
Christmas---in the sense in which I have described it in this post---began at the moment of the Big Bang, or perahps even before then. It began when the Spirit of Life first gave of Itself ... to Itself, so to speak ... so as to give birth to more life, and then even more life, and so on. Christmas is, however, only complete when it reaches your heart---and mine. So, 'let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, that the Lord has told us' (Lk 2:15).