WHAT IS CHRISTMAS ALL ABOUT?
A few years ago I shared the following message at the annual Christmas Eve service that the Conversations with God Foundation has presented in Ashland, Oregon for the past 12 years…
I couldn’t sleep last night. I was up from 2 until 6, having another one of my Conversations with God.
“Tell me about Christmas,” I said. “What is it really all about?” And I heard, “What do you mean, what is it really all about? I’ve told you a million times what it’s all about.” So I said, “Tell me again. I think I may have missed it.”
And suddenly my head was filled with a Christmas Carol – one of the happiest and most triumphant of all the melodies of Christmas. “Joy to the world,” the song began, “the Lord has come.” But I couldn’t get into it. I kept wondering, what is joyful about the coming of someone who is going to be a lord over us?
God! I said…I don’t understand this! And God replied, “You’re right. You don’t.”
Then God said, “But at least you’re asking a question. And that’s good. It’s really hard to understand something if you think there are no more questions to ask. You can’t be given an answer if you think you already have the only answer there is.”
“Well, I don’t have the answer,” I admitted. “So what’s the answer?” And God said, “The answer is that the Lord….who has come….is not a lord over you, but in you.”
These words came to me at 2:57 this morning, and I pondered them in my heart.
“Then,” I ventured, “the Christmas season is not just a remembering of the birth of a Babe. This is also a celebration of the birth of the Christed one in all of us.”
And God answered softly, “yes.”
And then I wondered what all the songs, and all the messages, and all the feelings of Christmas would mean if I accepted this truth. If I really understood that the message of this season is not about one blesséd being, but about all beings, being blesséd.
Not about someone else, but about us. About me. But oh my gosh, did that sound bad. I mean, it actually sounded like blasphemy. How could Christmas be about me? Of all the self-centered, ego-maniacal thoughts! This is about the coming of the Lord! This is about the Gift of the Magi!
But, my heart insisted, what if the gift was me? And what if the Lord HAS come to be in me, not over me?
I know that I can find a place for him over me, but can I find a place for him within me?
And what would it mean for me to do that? What would it mean for me to be not only a person who has been blessed, but a person who is blesséd? And for me to think of you in the same way? What if I saw you as blesséd? Would I act differently toward you?
I’d like to think I would. I’d like to think that I would be more kind to you. More gentle with my words, more caring with my actions, more compassionate in my thoughts, more honest in my dealings, more patient and generous and…and more aware of the wonder of you.
And if I thought that I was a blesséd person, would I act differently toward me?
I think I would. I think I’d be more kind to myself. More gentle with my words, more caring with my actions. I think I’d be more compassionate with myself, more patient and generous and…and more aware of the wonder of ME.
But is it possible that we are all blesséd?
This I asked in the middle of the night, and the answer came back, stunningly, simply: “Yes.”
Soooo, I mused… this is the meaning of Christmas. That… that which is Christed is born in all of us. Lives in all of us. Is all of us. We simply do not remember this. And so, Christmas was created to remind us.
Christmas, it turns out, is not about a particular religion, but about all religions. It is not about a particular person, but about all persons. It does not matter whether you are Christian or Muslim, Hindu or Jew, Baptist or Buddhist. Or none of the above.
When you give birth to the lord within you, you give life to a wonder and a majesty and a wisdom and a love that can flow from you to all the world, and change the world forever.
Isn’t this the Christmas Story?
And when we live this story as our story, are our lives not renewed, with our separated selves made whole?
Indeed. Our souls are stirred, our hearts are filled. And then it is we who bring…joy to the world.
The gift of Christmas is us, fully expressed and fully realized. It is us — completely willing and totally ready — to love without condition, to give without restriction, to share without limitation, to create without fear, to celebrate ourselves without shame or embarrassment.
It is us, choosing to forgive without hesitation, to help without being asked, to rush in where angels fear to tread. Indeed, to lead the way for angels.
Ah, to lead the way for angels. That’s why we’re here. That’s why we’ve come to the Earth. To be a herald!
Hark! The herald, angels sing. Glory to the newborn king.
At this moment we can give birth to the royalty within us…the royalty that we are in God’s eyes.
You know, someone once said…if you saw you as God sees you, you would smile a lot. Well, this moment, this Christmas Moment, is a time for smiles. For in this moment, if we really try, we can almost see ourselves as God see us. We can feel it.
You can feel it right now, in your heart. That feeling is called love. Your love for life, and all those you love in this life. And God’s love for you.
The Magic of Christmas is that it gives us permission to take that feeling, to take that love, and share it with all those whose lives we touch.
With friend, and with stranger. With those who agree with us, and with those who disagree. With those who look and act like us, and with those who do not.
We are invited in this moment to feel this love, and to give it permanent place within our heart. To be the source of peace on Earth, and goodwill toward men and women everywhere.
We are invited in this moment to walk the Earth not only as one who is blessed, but as one who is blesséd. Not only as the Lord of the manner, but in the manner of the Lord. For that is what we are. We are the lord of our inner kingdom, and thus, of the outer one as well. And when we understand that, everything changes. We begin to experience the world, and to affect the world, in a new way.
That is the Christmas invitation. We are invited to begin that experience in this moment. On this, and on every, silent night. And if we do, we will make every one of them a holy night. And we will begin to create a world in which all is calm. All is bright.
Joy to the world! The Lord has come. Let Earth receive her King. Let every heart…prepare him room. And heaven, and nature, sing!
Merry Christmas, everyone. Happy, happy holidays!