Tomorrow in the Catholic tradition marks the first Sunday of Advent. That is the four Sundays in the run-up to D-day, which is Christmas. The Christmas holidays mark primarily the birthday of Christ Jesus, but also the winter solstice and the New Year; it is essentially the three events rolled into one. And I love it. I love the remembrance, of being called to birth the Christ within us, of the returning of the Sun to give us more daylight hours and the anticipation of a New Year to give us a fresh start. And it is all made so exciting with all the numerous traditions and events that go along with it; the Christmas lights, Christmas music, gifts from Saint Nickolas, foods, Christmas trees, the Christmas creche, and decorations, Christmas markets, warm fires, hot chocolate etc… all that we now know and love that goes to make Christmas a very distinctive time of the year. There is a magic at Christmas that cannot be captured or replaced. Yet, within all this busyness all things in the exterior take us away from the interior. I say this every Christmas we need to stay grounded and find time to turn within. Find time to quieten the mind, to meditate and to pray. It is not a secret that Christmas has become very material, but it does not have to mean that we ignore our inner work. Keep the focus. Keep the eye on the ball that all this is about the fact that Jesus was born and he embodied his Christ self. He embodied the Christ consciousness that is within us all. Christ consciousness can be interchangeable with God consciousness. Both are the same., and it is the birth of the Christ Jesus that we honour and acknowledge at Christmas time. We honour and rebirth the new Sun/Son of God that is within every one of us; this is what we should be striving towards at Christmas and onwards into the new year. I adore this cosy, cocooning time of the year. I love the darkness, I love slowing down, burning candles and resting inside, remaining more still, in contrast to the exterior busyness of the summer. It is great to have the contrast, to have the experience of the two seasons like winter and summer. It exposes not only the beauty of nature but also our interior beauty. I find that the darkness of winter touches the soul like nothing else; for it is in the darkness that we find new life. It is out of the darkness of winter that allows for spring. The spring needs to be prepared for and it is in winter when we do just that. For winter is a time of initiation, of preparation, of forging a way for the Christ to be rebirthed within us. Winter’s association with death mirrors our interior journey, and Christmas is the pivotal point of the season. In the bible John the Baptist cried in the wilderness ‘Prepare a way for the Lord’, and that is what we must do; prepare ourselves for the birth of Christ consciousness within us. Because it is not enough just to celebrate or mark the birthday of Jesus Christ, but we have to become him. We too are being called to become our Christ selves, to grow in consciousness each Christmas. With each passing year, we are to accelerate our growth, to snowball and roll into a bigger ball of Christ Light than that which has gone before. For that is the Christmas Challenge, do we roll down the hill gathering momentum as we go, or are we actually going in the wrong direction trying to push ourselves uphill? Think over that one as you sip on your hot chocolate this Christmas.
Love and Light,