Message from Sunday 14th December 2014
The world is filled with the sounds of Christmas. If you listen with your outer ears, you will hear carols, bells and laughter, and now and then a sob of loneliness. In a recent tragedy on Mt. Everest, one of the leading Sherpas stopped and said, “My ear is hurting,” He turned back, and a lot of people went with him. Those who went on were swept away in the avalanche. It is listening with this inner ear that we need to practice. If you listen with the inner ear, you will hear the sound of angels’ wings, the hush of inner expectation, and the sacred sound of the deepest silence. It is this deep Silence that is sometimes overlooked in the metaphysics of Christmas.
Just over two thousand years ago, the early church fathers superimposed the story of Jesus on the ancient pagan practice of worshiping Easter the goddess of Spring. This slowly caused a paradigm shift in the religious thinking throughout the known world. Today there is another challenge taking place. Familiar mystical and miraculous stories are open to scientific investigation and found wanting.
Most of us have a mixture of sentimental Bible stories, Charles Dickens, and James Dillet Freeman in our memories. We love the old movie with James Stewart playing the cynic; we sing with gusto about Rudolf the red nosed reindeer, we cheer Scrooge on as he learns to express the love hidden in his heart. But is it enough?
Unity has never approached the Bible from a literal historical point of view, but rather seeks to find the hidden Truth in what has been preserved. For this, the tool is a metaphysical understanding of the age-old symbols.
Christmas is an inner experience, an inner miracle, an inner rebirth. It is repeated again, and again as human hearts awaken to the Christ Spirit within. Jesus is the perfect example of a spiritual being, the Christ idea, having a human experience as Jesus of Nazareth. You are a spiritual being having a human experience as you; and everything that happens to you and around you, are in some way connected with your potential to become a perfect spiritual being also.
This is a celebration we remember from earliest childhood; it is a time we create in all its joy and wonder for our own children and their children. And even if, along the way, we seem to have lost sight of the real meaning of Christmas it is never too late to recapture it.
Perhaps it is going back to that child-like trust that is essential for a spiritual re-birth. Jesus said we had to become as little children in order to enter the kingdom. So what qualities do babies bring? Innocence, honesty, unconditional love and trust.
This very season challenges us to hold on to unconditional love. Everyone is in a hurry. Unconditional love is hard to hold on to when others seem to be behaving badly. Innocence is gone in babyhood, the minute we begin to charm parents with our smiles. It will take self discipline to maintain an inner serenity.
There are times when we could be enacting a scene from the Christmas Carol and we find ourselves at a crossroads, wanting to give in to our lesser nature, and bother all the peace and goodwill. It is right then that you can choose a new way of looking at the world, at life and yourself, and you discover that you are more than you thought you were.
You are a spiritual being functioning through a complex mind, and a responsive body. One of the most vital of the symbols of Christmas, is Joseph. There is a poem called “Joseph Speaks” – it says in part:
When poets and painters came to tell my story, they altered the facts.
The painters gave my shoulders a stoop.
And the poets shortened my stride to a shuffle.
They were mistaken.
They confused age and authority.
Joseph represents the imaging, increasing power of the intellect, and its highest form the intellect becomes positive thinking, and this has authority. We can never fully realise our Christ potential without positive thinking.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, full of grace and truth represents that aspect within every person that is willing to love, honour and respect the divine feminine, a pure unqualified love, that is so in tune with the Infinite, that it is guided constantly from within … intuition. It is essential that positive thinking and intuition work together, in order for our own divine nature to be born. It has no chance where there is dishonesty, hatred and mistrust.
The shepherds are our hard-working protectors and guides through the human landscape. They help to protect the sheep from the wolves. The sheep are harmless and innocent, guileless thoughts. But even these have a tendency to wander when we aren’t paying attention. The wolves – we entertain quite a few of these – they are error beliefs in sickness, lack, limitation, defeat. The shepherd gets rid of the wolves by declaring “I refuse to worry or fret, for God is with me. I’m not going to let these negative thoughts distract me. I’m going to remain positive and upbeat. I affirm wholeness, goodness and abundance in my life.”
One of the poignant aspects of this Christmas story is the reminder that there is no room at the Inn. An Inn is a place where we are cared for, where we are fed and soothed and nurtured. There is such a place in all of us. It is called “The Silence”, “the Secret Place of the Most High”. Jesus called it “The Father Within”, or “The Kingdom of God.”
When you have moments of self doubt, when your faith is fragile, when you feel alone, it is important to go to the Inn at the matrix of your being. Here you will find that God’s love within you is a constant source of guidance. You can trust this love to help you navigate your way through life in peace and safety.
Go to the Inn when you need healing, strength, and renewal. At these times remember that the love of God is your source of wholeness and that this love fills every cell and brings every organ into perfect balance. Here in the Silence listen to these words:
In quiet periods of prayer, I feel Your healing Presence near, and words you spoke in Galilee are spoken to me inwardly: Be thou made whole! Be thou complete! Clear, active mind, strong agile feet. Blood flowing free to every part; sound limber joints, strong vital heart; each sense and organ, cell and nerve, serving as it was meant to serve – free of hindrance, pain, or strife the glad expressiveness of life …
In the secret place of the most High, you will find peace. As you become still feel the peace of Christ enveloping you. No matter how complicated or confused situations may become, you will find your haven of peace as you allow the peace of Christ to calm your heart and sing through your soul.
Turn to this central core of your being, the Father within if you want to see more visible signs of prosperity. Know that you are rich right now because you have spiritual abundance – the very love of God within you. You can experience this love as divine ideas that lead to greater supply. You can express this love in every interaction with others. Your prosperity consists of more than money; it encompasses wonderful, warm relationships with people who also express God’s love in a variety of ways.
Once established in the Inn, the wise men keep you searching to come up higher. They may be likened to the stored-up resources of the soul – that extra courage and faith when you need it. The star is the light of Truth ever willing to guide you no matter where you may be. It is our inner conviction of our ability to accomplish whatever we undertake. It helps us succeed. In our Unity Sunday School lessons, we told each child – you are a star, smart, talented able and ready. (Turn to someone now – you are a star – smart, talented able and ready) The wise men gave gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Gold for the riches of spirit, frankincense for the beauty of spirit, and myrrh for the eternal quality of spirit.
Both the shepherds and the wise men saw the star. Which means that when you are on the spiritual path no-one is greater or lesser than the other. Truth is always with us; we reach our goal when we remain single-focused; the wolves may try to distract us, but we have the ability to keep on.
The child Jesus is like a magnet for the shepherds and wise men; your own Christ awareness is a magnet for your fulfillment; a good affirmation to use is: “I let my light shine; Christ reigns in my heart; I am trusting in His love; resting in His peace; growing in His wisdom. I open my life to Spirit and good flows to me from everywhere.”
We love the story of Christmas because it is our story too. If you have felt downcast for any reason, if you have felt that you are a failure, if your strength has seemed to ebb, now is the time to remember every miracle story you have ever heard. We have two thousand years of evidence telling us that the Christ awareness has made:
The weak become strong; the fearful become brave;
The timid become confident; the sick become healthy;
The poor become rich; the unhappy become contented;
The lonely become part of life gain; the bitter become mellow;
The resentful become understanding and the hateful become kind and good.
How can such transformations be? How can we change from one kind of person to another; how can our lives take on new meaning; how can our feet find new paths; how can our hearts find new happiness?
It is because the Christmas Story is our story … because when we took our first breath, the Christ awareness was the pulse in the embryo – – we were born with physical awareness – completely sensual; it is up to us to give birth to the spiritual potential that is within – this celebration of Christmas is our opportunity to light the light of the Christ in our own hearts.