Christmas and the Christ Within (10 December 2021)
Yesterday as I was driving down the street near my home in the first snow of the season, I turned my car’s CD player on and it started playing in the middle of my favorite Christmas carol, O Holy Night. These are the words the CD started on:
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother;
And in His name, all oppression shall cease.
As I drove along in the falling snow I thought of my childhood experience of Christmas and Jesus, and how hearing the stories of his birth and life made me feel a reference and love inside of me. I think now that the stories of his life and love have the power to touch what I call the Christ within – that place at the deepest core of our being where our Oneness is the ultimate truth of reality. In that place we love one another as Jesus loved us – we love our neighbor as ourself – because in a very real way our neighbor is our “self.” This is the truth of Oneness.
I remembered how it felt in our home when we would read the Christmas story from Luke, putting pieces into the Christmas display we kids were given at church as each part of the story was read – the shepherds, the wise men, the angels. I thought of stories about temporary cease-fires being called in war on Christmas Eve, in recognition of Jesus’ birth.
I thought of the time, when as a young adult our church group made stockings with little presents in them and took them to a retirement home. We’d specifically asked for the names of people who had no one to visit them. When we gave one woman a stocking with her name on it, she said, “I don’t understand. How did you know my name? No one knows I’m here.” I said, “God knows.”
I think about how my dad would secretly deliver boxes of Christmas chocolates to families in need from our church, with envelopes of money hidden in them. Such acts of love and kindness inspired by the story of Jesus’ birth.
I think now that the stories of Jesus are a beautiful catalyst, that they have the power to awaken the Christ within all of us, the part of us where to harm another would be unthinkable, and to love and care for others is our deepest impulse and desire, because doing so reflects the truth of Oneness. This is the real magic of Christmas. It makes me happy that Christmas carols still have the power to touch the Christ within me.